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Beautiful Teams by Jennifer Greene, Andrew Stellman

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A Calculated Risk …

It's December, and Da Bomb is in full swing. The secret is out, too—at least within the company: a few weeks before, the executive VP of engineering, Delon Dotson, announced the project to the engineering staff, and Michael announced it to the rest of the company at a Chairman's Chat shortly thereafter. MP3.com was now in full "music acquisition" mode, buying all the CDs it could get its hands on, including offering employees $20 for each CD from their collection that they were willing to part with. The goal: acquire the 10,000 most popular CDs ever sold so that when My.MP3.com users buy a CD from a partnering vendor, or attempt to "Beam" (i.e., verify) a CD they have in their collection, there's a high chance that we'll have that music in our database. This is a tougher problem than expected because it turns out that for each CD there may be multiple versions. Our "Beam It" software is refined enough to detect this when you attempt to verify a CD from your collection, and if we don't have that particular version of that album, our software won't allow you to listen to it from our servers. This is good from a security standpoint—you can't listen to music you don't own—but bad from an end-user perspective: "I can't believe they don't have Dark Side of the Moon!" Meanwhile, there are at least eight different versions of Dark Side of the Moon, and even though the music on each one is identical to the listener, the master tapes were slightly different: enough that ...

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