Genius developer outsourced own job, took 6 figure salary, watched cat videos all day

Why didn't his company do this?

There's a story that has emerged today about a developer - as yet referred to only as "Bob". He worked for a US-based infrastructure company. He made a six-figure salary. Here was his typical day:

  • 9:00 a.m. – Arrive and surf Reddit for a couple of hours. Watch cat videos.
  • 11:30 a.m. – Take lunch.
  • 1:00 p.m. – Ebay time.
  • 2:00 – ish p.m Facebook updates – LinkedIn.
  • 4:30 p.m. – End of day update e-mail to management.
  • 5:00 p.m. – Go home.

(Schedule from Verizon.)

Unbeknownst to the company, he had outsourced all his work to China - at the cost of less than a fifth of his salary. And according to reports, he was also running the same work model at multiple companies, earning “several hundred thousand dollars a year”. He had been known as one of the best developers there - he won several awards for his work.

The company described him like this:

Employee profile –mid-40′s software developer versed in C, C++, perl, java, Ruby, php, python, etc. Relatively long tenure with the company, family man, inoffensive and quiet. Someone you wouldn’t look at twice in an elevator.

Yet clearly this "family man" had spotted something his company hadn't - outsourcing development work to China was a very good idea. They didn't see it like that though - Bob got the sack. This is a shame: after all, according to his colleagues:

His [work] was clean, well written, and submitted in a timely fashion. Quarter after quarter, his performance review noted him as the best developer in the building.

Someone give this man another job (or six).


"Bob" liked to watch cat videos. Photograph: Getty Images

Martha Gill writes the weekly Irrational Animals column. You can follow her on Twitter here: @Martha_Gill.

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Why relations between Theresa May and Philip Hammond became tense so quickly

The political imperative of controlling immigration is clashing with the economic imperative of maintaining growth. 

There is no relationship in government more important than that between the prime minister and the chancellor. When Theresa May entered No.10, she chose Philip Hammond, a dependable technocrat and long-standing ally who she had known since Oxford University. 

But relations between the pair have proved far tenser than anticipated. On Wednesday, Hammond suggested that students could be excluded from the net migration target. "We are having conversations within government about the most appropriate way to record and address net migration," he told the Treasury select committee. The Chancellor, in common with many others, has long regarded the inclusion of students as an obstacle to growth. 

The following day Hammond was publicly rebuked by No.10. "Our position on who is included in the figures has not changed, and we are categorically not reviewing whether or not students are included," a spokesman said (as I reported in advance, May believes that the public would see this move as "a fix"). 

This is not the only clash in May's first 100 days. Hammond was aggrieved by the Prime Minister's criticisms of loose monetary policy (which forced No.10 to state that it "respects the independence of the Bank of England") and is resisting tougher controls on foreign takeovers. The Chancellor has also struck a more sceptical tone on the UK's economic prospects. "It is clear to me that the British people did not vote on June 23 to become poorer," he declared in his conference speech, a signal that national prosperity must come before control of immigration. 

May and Hammond's relationship was never going to match the remarkable bond between David Cameron and George Osborne. But should relations worsen it risks becoming closer to that beween Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling. Like Hammond, Darling entered the Treasury as a calm technocrat and an ally of the PM. But the extraordinary circumstances of the financial crisis transformed him into a far more assertive figure.

In times of turmoil, there is an inevitable clash between political and economic priorities. As prime minister, Brown resisted talk of cuts for fear of the electoral consequences. But as chancellor, Darling was more concerned with the bottom line (backing a rise in VAT). By analogy, May is focused on the political imperative of controlling immigration, while Hammond is focused on the economic imperative of maintaining growth. If their relationship is to endure far tougher times they will soon need to find a middle way. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.