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Beautiful Teams by Jennifer Greene, Andrew Stellman

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The Final Month

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, work on Da Bomb was starting to spill over into all areas of engineering. James Park was the point person on developing the user interface (UI) for the new My.MP3.com service. He was faced with the unenviable (but not altogether unusual) task of developing a UI spec for a service which didn't exist yet, and more specifically, whose performance was unknown. This last bit was key: this was the only area of our website which would be doing live database queries, and the current prototypes were slow. Having our new, premier, best-thing-since-sliced-bread-how-did-I-ever-live-without-this service (My.MP3.com) be equated with "slow" was not acceptable in the eyes of management, and it was up to James to figure out how to design a workable UI which didn't require too much data from the database, and therefore minimized the DB query times. [11]

But an interesting thing happened here: James pulled in two of his cohorts from the design group—Brian Callahan and Nancy Bachman—and it soon became apparent that these folks were not invited to the party. It's not that they weren't technically competent or adding value to the project—they did all of that—it's just that they weren't part of the "Cool Kids Club" (yet). Or so it was presumed from the dirty looks when James pulled them into meetings, or the lack of invitations to these meetings in the first place! It was a wholly bizarre phenomenon which seemed to manifest itself fairly frequently at MP3.com: ...

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