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Search - "maybe he was drunk"
Good Morning!, its time for practiseSafeHex's most incompetent co-worker!
Todays contestant is a very special one.
*sitcom audience: WHY?*
Glad you asked, you see if you were to look at his linkedin profile, you would see a job title unlike any you've seen before.
*sitcom audience oooooooohhhhhh*
were not talking software developer, engineer, tech lead, designer, CTO, CEO or anything like that, No No our new entrant "G" surpasses all of those with the title ..... "Software extraordinaire".
*sitcom audience laughs hysterically*
I KNOW!, wtf does that even mean! as a previous dev-ranter pointed out does this mean he IS quality code? I'd say he's more like a trash can ... where his code belongs
*ba dum tsssss*
Ok ok, lets get on with the show, heres some reasons why "G" is on the show:
One of G's tasks was to build an analytics gathering library for iOS, similar to google analytics where you track pages and events (we couldn't use google's). G was SO good at this job he implemented 2 features we didn't even ask for:
- If the library was unable to load its config file (for any reason) it would throw an uncatchable system integrity error, crashing the app.
- If anything was passed into any of the functions that wasn't expected (null, empty array etc.) it would crash the app as it was "more efficient" to not do any sanity checks inside the library.
This caused a lot of issues as some of the data needed to come from the clients server. The day we launched the app, within the first 3 hours we had over 40k crash logs and a VERY angry client.
Now, what makes this story important is not the bugs themselves, come on how many times have we all done something stupid? No the issue here was G defended all of this as the right thing to do!
.. and no he wasn't stoned or drunk!
G claimed if he couldn't get the right settings / params he wouldn't be able to track the event and then our CEO wouldn't have our usage data. To which I replied:
"So your solution was to not give the client an app instead? ... which also doesn't give the CEO his data".
He got very angry and asked me "what would you do then?". I offered a solution something like why not have a default tag for "error" or "unknown" where if theres an issue, we send up whatever we have, plus the file name and store it somewhere else. I was told I was being ridiculous as it wasn't built to track anything like that and that would never work ... his solution? ... pull the library out of the app and forget it.
... once again giving everyone no data.
G later moved onto another cross-platform style project. Backend team were particularly unhappy as they got no spec of what needed to be done. All they knew was it was a single endpoint dealing with very complex model. There was no Java classes, super classes, abstract classes or even interfaces, just this huge chunk of mocked data. So myself and the lead sat down with him, and asked where the interfaces for the backend where, or designs / architecture for them etc.
His response, to this day frightens me ... not makes me angry, not bewilders me ... scares the living shit out of me that people like this exist in the world and have successful careers.
G: "hhhmmm, I know how to build an interface, but i've never understood them ... Like lets say I have an interface, what now? how does that help me in any way? I can't physically use it, does it not just use up time building it for no reason?"
us: "... ... how are the backend team suppose to understand the model, its types, integrate it into the other systems?"
G: "Can I not just tell them and they can write it down?"
I'll just pause here for a moment, as you'll likely need to read that again out of sheer disbelief
I've never seen someone die inside the way the lead did. He started a syllable and his face just dropped, eyes glazed over and he instantly lost all the will to live. He replied:
" wel ............... it doesn't matter ... its not important ... I have to go, good luck with the project"
*killed the screen share and left the room*
now I know you are all dying in suspense to know what happened to that project, I can drop the shocking bombshell that it was in fact cancelled. Thankfully only ~350 man hours were spent on it
... yep, not a typo.
G's crowning achievement however will go down in history. VERY long story short, backend got deployed to the server and EVERYTHING broke. Lead investigated, found mistakes and config issues on every second line, load balancer wasn't even starting up. When asked had this been tested before it was deployed:
G: "Yeah I tested it on my machine, it worked fine"
lead: "... and on the server?"
G: "no, my machine will do the same thing"
lead: "do you have a load balancer and multiple VM's?"
G: "no, but Java is Java"
... and with that its time to end todays episode. Will G be our most incompetent? ... maybe.
Tune in later for more practiceSafeHex's most incompetent co-worker!!!31
I'm drunk and I'll probably regret this, but here's a drunken rank of things I've learned as an engineer for the past 10 years.
The best way I've advanced my career is by changing companies.
Technology stacks don't really matter because there are like 15 basic patterns of software engineering in my field that apply. I work in data so it's not going to be the same as webdev or embedded. But all fields have about 10-20 core principles and the tech stack is just trying to make those things easier, so don't fret overit.
There's a reason why people recommend job hunting. If I'm unsatisfied at a job, it's probably time to move on.
I've made some good, lifelong friends at companies I've worked with. I don't need to make that a requirement of every place I work. I've been perfectly happy working at places where I didn't form friendships with my coworkers and I've been unhappy at places where I made some great friends.
I've learned to be honest with my manager. Not too honest, but honest enough where I can be authentic at work. What's the worse that can happen? He fire me? I'll just pick up a new job in 2 weeks.
If I'm awaken at 2am from being on-call for more than once per quarter, then something is seriously wrong and I will either fix it or quit.
pour another glass
Qualities of a good manager share a lot of qualities of a good engineer.
When I first started, I was enamored with technology and programming and computer science. I'm over it.
Good code is code that can be understood by a junior engineer. Great code can be understood by a first year CS freshman. The best code is no code at all.
The most underrated skill to learn as an engineer is how to document. Fuck, someone please teach me how to write good documentation. Seriously, if there's any recommendations, I'd seriously pay for a course (like probably a lot of money, maybe 1k for a course if it guaranteed that I could write good docs.)
Related to above, writing good proposals for changes is a great skill.
Almost every holy war out there (vim vs emacs, mac vs linux, whatever) doesn't matter... except one. See below.
The older I get, the more I appreciate dynamic languages. Fuck, I said it. Fight me.
If I ever find myself thinking I'm the smartest person in the room, it's time to leave.
I don't know why full stack webdevs are paid so poorly. No really, they should be paid like half a mil a year just base salary. Fuck they have to understand both front end AND back end AND how different browsers work AND networking AND databases AND caching AND differences between web and mobile AND omg what the fuck there's another framework out there that companies want to use? Seriously, why are webdevs paid so little.
We should hire more interns, they're awesome. Those energetic little fucks with their ideas. Even better when they can question or criticize something. I love interns.
Don't meet your heroes. I paid 5k to take a course by one of my heroes. He's a brilliant man, but at the end of it I realized that he's making it up as he goes along like the rest of us.
Tech stack matters. OK I just said tech stack doesn't matter, but hear me out. If you hear Python dev vs C++ dev, you think very different things, right? That's because certain tools are really good at certain jobs. If you're not sure what you want to do, just do Java. It's a shitty programming language that's good at almost everything.
The greatest programming language ever is lisp. I should learn lisp.
For beginners, the most lucrative programming language to learn is SQL. Fuck all other languages. If you know SQL and nothing else, you can make bank. Payroll specialtist? Maybe 50k. Payroll specialist who knows SQL? 90k. Average joe with organizational skills at big corp? $40k. Average joe with organization skills AND sql? Call yourself a PM and earn $150k.
Tests are important but TDD is a damn cult.
Cushy government jobs are not what they are cracked up to be, at least for early to mid-career engineers. Sure, $120k + bennies + pension sound great, but you'll be selling your soul to work on esoteric proprietary technology. Much respect to government workers but seriously there's a reason why the median age for engineers at those places is 50+. Advice does not apply to government contractors.
Third party recruiters are leeches. However, if you find a good one, seriously develop a good relationship with them. They can help bootstrap your career. How do you know if you have a good one? If they've been a third party recruiter for more than 3 years, they're probably bad. The good ones typically become recruiters are large companies.
Options are worthless or can make you a millionaire. They're probably worthless unless the headcount of engineering is more than 100. Then maybe they are worth something within this decade.
Work from home is the tits. But lack of whiteboarding sucks.39
#3 Worst thing I've seen a co-worker do?
A 20-something dev, 'A', back in the early days of twitter+facebook would post all his extracurricular activities (drinking, partying, normal young-buck stuff). The dev mgr, 'J', at the time took offense because he felt 'A' was making the company look bad, so 'A' had a target on his back. Nothing 'A' did was good enough and, for example, 'J' had the source control czars review 'A's code to 'review' (aka = find anything wrong). Not sorting the 'using' statements, and extra line after the closing }, petty things like that. For those curious, orders followed+carried out by+led by 'T' in my previous rant.
As time went on and 'T' finding more and more 'wrong' with A's code, 'J' put A on disciplinary probation. 'A' had 90 days to turn himself around, or else.
A bright spot was 'A' was working on a Delphi -> C# conversion, so a lot of the code would be green-field development and by simply following the "standards", 'A' would be fine...so he thought.
About 2 weeks into the probation, 'A' was called into the J's office and berated because the conversion project was behind schedule, and if he didn't get the project back on track, 'A' wouldn't make it 30 days. I sat behind 'A' and he unloaded on me.
<'A' slams his phone on his desk>
Me: "Whoa...whats up?"
A: "Dude, I fucking hate this place, did you hear what they did?"
<I said no, then I think we spent an hour talking about it>
Me: "That all sucks. Don't worry about the code. Nobody cares what T thinks. Its not even your fault the project is behind, the DBAs are tasked with upgrades and it's not like anyone is waiting on you. It'll get done when it's done. Sounds like a witch hunt, what did you do? Be honest."
A: "Well, um...I kinda called out J, T, and those other assholes on facebook. I was drunk, pissed, and ...well...here we are."
Me: "Geez, what a bunch of whiney snowflakes. Keep your head down and you'll get thru it, or don't. Its not like you couldn't find another job tomorrow."
A: "This is my first job out of college and I don't want to disappoint my dad by quitting. I don't even know what I'm supposed to be doing. All J told me was to get better. What the fuk does that even mean?"
Me: "He didn't give you any goals? Crap, for someone who is a stickler for the rules, that's low, even for J."
Fast forward 2 weeks, I was attending MS TechEd and I was with another dev mgr, R.
R: "Did you hear? We had to let 'A' go today."
Me: "What the hell? Why?"
R: "He couldn't cut it, so we had to let him go."
Me: "Cut what? What did he do, specifically?"
R: "I don't know, 'A' was on probation, I guess he didn't meet the goals."
Me: "You guess? We fire a developer working on a major upgrade and you guess? What were these so-called goals?"
R: "Whoa...you're getting a little fire up. I don't know, maybe not adhering to coding standards, not meeting deadlines?"
Me: "OMG...we fire people for not forming code? Are you serious!?"
R: "Oh...yea...that does sound odd when you put it that way. I wish I'd talk to you before we left on this trip"
Me: "What?! You knew they were firing him *before* we left? How long did you know this was happening?"
R: "Honestly, for a while. 'A' really wasn't a team player."
Me: "That's dirty, the whole thing is dirty. We've done some shitty things to people, but this is low, even for J. The probation process is meant to improve, not be used as a witch hunt. I don't like that you stood around and let it happen. You know better."
R: "Yea, you're right, but doesn't change anything. J wanted to do it while most of us were at the conference in case 'A' caused a scene."
Me: "THAT MAKES IT WORSE! 'A' was blindsided and you knew it. He had no one there that could defend him or anything."
R: "Crap, crap, crap...oh crap...jeez...J had this planned all along...crap....there is nothing I can do no...its too late."
Me: "Yes there is. If 'A' comes to you for a letter of recommendation, you write one. If someone calls for reference, you give him a good one."
R: "Yea..yea...crap...I feel like shit...I need to go back to the room and lie down."
As the sun sets, it rises again. Within a couple of weeks, 'A' had another job at a local university. Within a year, he was the department manager, and now he is a vice president (last time I checked) of a college in Kansas City, MO.10
My first job was actually nontechnical - I was 18 years old and sold premium office furniture for a small store in Munich.
I did code in my free time though (PHP/JS mostly, had a litte browsergame back then - those were the days), so when my boss approached me and asked me whether I liked to take over a coding project, I agreed to the idea.
Little did I know at the time: I was supposed to work with a web agency the boss had contracted to build their online shop. Only that he had no plan or anything, he basically told them "build me an online shop like abc(a major competitor of ours at the time)"
He employed another sales lady who was supposed to manage the shop (that didn't exist yet). In the end, I think 80% of her job was to keep me from killing my boss.
As you can imagine, with this huuuuge amout of planning and these exact visions of what was supposed to be, things went south fast and far. So far that I could visit my fellow flightless birds down in the Penguin's republic of Antarctica and still need to go further.
Well... When my boss started suing the web agency, I was... ahem, asked to take over. Dumb as I was, I did - I was a PHP kid and thought that Magento, being written in PHP, would be easy to master. If you know Magento, you know that was maybe the wrongest thing I ever said.
Fast forward 3 very exhausting months, the thing was online. Not all of it worked yet, but it was online and fairly secure.
I did next to everything myself, administrating the CentOS box the shop was running on, its (own) e-mail server, the web server, all the coding required for the shop (can you spell 12 hour day for 8 hour pay?)
3 further months later, my life basically was a wreck, I dragged myself to work, the only thing I looked forward being the motorcycle ride home. The system worked though.
Mind you, I was still, at the time, working with three major customers, doing deskside support and some admin (Win Server 2008R2 at the time) - because, to quote my boss, "We could not afford a full time developer and we don't need one".
I think i stopped coding in my free time, the one hobby I used to love more than anything on the world, somewhere Decemerish 2012. I dropped out of the open source projects I was in, quit working on my browser game and let everything slide.
I didn't even care to renew the domains and servers for it, I just let it die without notice.
The little free time I had, I spent playing video games and getting drunk/high.
December 2013, 1.5 years on the job, I reached my breaking point and just left, called in sick at least a week per month because I just could not see this fucking place anymore.
I looked for another job outside of ALL of what I did before. No more Magento, no more sales, no more PHP. I didn't have to look for long, despite what I thought of my skills.
In February 2014, I told my boss that I quit. It was still seven months until my new job started, but I wanted him to know early so we could migrate and find a replacement.
The search for said replacement started in June 2014. I had considerably less work in the months before, looks like he got the hint.
In August 2014, my replacement arrived and I got him started.
I found a job, which I am still in, and still happy about after almost half a decade, at a local, medium sized ISP as a software dev and IT security guy. Got a proper training with a certificate and everything now.
My replacement lasted two months, he was external and never really did his job - the site, which until I had quit, had a total of 3 days downtime for 3 YEARS (they were the hoster's fault, not mine), was down for an entire month and he could not even tell why.
HIS followup was kicked after taking two weeks to familiarize himself with the project. Well, I think that two weeks is not even barely enough to familiarize yourself with nearly three years of work, but my boss gave him two days.
In 2016, the shop was replaced with another one. Different shop system, different OS, different CI. I don't know why and I can't say I give a damn.
Almost all the people that worked at the company back with me have left for greener pastures, taking their customers (and revenue) with them.
As for my boss' comments, instructions and lines: THAT might not be safe for work. Or kids. Or humans in general. And there wouldn't be much left if you put it through a language filter...
Moral of the story: No, it's not a bad thing to leave a place if you're mistreated there. Don't mistake loyalty with stupidity!
And, to quote one of my favourite Bands: "Nothing matters when the pain is all but gone" (Tragedy + Time by Rise Against).8
Long rant ahead.. 5k characters pretty much completely used. So feel free to have another cup of coffee and have a seat 🙂
So.. a while back this flash drive was stolen from me, right. Well it turns out that other than me, the other guy in that incident also got to the police 😃
Now, let me explain the smiley face. At the time of the incident I was completely at fault. I had no real reason to throw a punch at this guy and my only "excuse" would be that I was drunk as fuck - I've never drank so much as I did that day. Needless to say, not a very good excuse and I don't treat it as such.
But that guy and whoever else it was that he was with, that was the guy (or at least part of the group that did) that stole that flash drive from me.
Context: https://devrant.com/rants/2049733 and https://devrant.com/rants/2088970
So that's great! I thought that I'd lost this flash drive and most importantly the data on it forever. But just this Friday evening as I was meeting with my friend to buy some illicit electronics (high voltage, low frequency arc generators if you catch my drift), a policeman came along and told me about that other guy filing a report as well, with apparently much of the blame now lying on his side due to him having punched me right into the hospital.
So I told the cop, well most of the blame is on me really, I shouldn't have started that fight to begin with, and for that matter not have drunk that much, yada yada yada.. anyway he walked away (good grief, as I was having that friend on visit to purchase those electronics at that exact time!) and he said that this case could just be classified then. Maybe just come along next week to the police office to file a proper explanation but maybe even that won't be needed.
So yeah, great. But for me there's more in it of course - that other guy knows more about that flash drive and the data on it that I care about. So I figured, let's go to the police office and arrange an appointment with this guy. And I got thinking about the technicalities for if I see that drive back and want to recover its data.
So I've got 2 phones, 1 rooted but reliant on the other one that's unrooted for a data connection to my home (because Android Q, and no bootable TWRP available for it yet). And theoretically a laptop that I can put Arch on it no problem but its display backlight is cooked. So if I want to bring that one I'd have to rely on a display from them. Good luck getting that done. No option. And then there's a flash drive that I can bake up with a portable Arch install that I can sideload from one of their machines but on that.. even more so - good luck getting that done. So my phones are my only option.
Just to be clear, the technical challenge is to read that flash drive and get as much data off of it as possible. The drive is 32GB large and has about 16GB used. So I'll need at least that much on whatever I decide to store a copy on, assuming unchanged contents (unlikely). My Nexus 6P with a VPN profile to connect to my home network has 32GB of storage. So theoretically I could use dd and pipe it to gzip to compress the zeroes. That'd give me a resulting file that's close to the actual usage on the flash drive in size. But just in case.. my OnePlus 6T has 256GB of storage but it's got no root access.. so I don't have block access to an attached flash drive from it. Worst case I'd have to open a WiFi hotspot to it and get an sshd going for the Nexus to connect to.
And there we have it! A large storage device, no root access, that nonetheless can make use of something else that doesn't have the storage but satisfies the other requirements.
And then we have things like parted to read out the partition table (and if unchanged, cryptsetup to read out LUKS). Now, I don't know if Termux has these and frankly I don't care. What I need for that is a chroot. But I can't just install Arch x86_64 on a flash drive and plug it into my phone. Linux Deploy to the rescue! 😁
It can make chrooted installations of common distributions on arm64, and it comes extremely close to actual Linux. With some Linux magic I could make that able to read the block device from Android and do all the required sorcery with it. Just a USB-C to 3x USB-A hub required (which I have), with the target flash drive and one to store my chroot on, connected to my Nexus. And fixed!
Let's see if I can get that flash drive back!
P.S.: if you're into electronics and worried about getting stuff like this stolen, customize it. I happen to know one particular property of that flash drive that I can use for verification, although it wasn't explicitly customized. But for instance in that flash drive there was a decorative LED. Those are current limited by a resistor. Factory default can be say 200 ohm - replace it with one with a higher value. That way you can without any doubt verify it to be yours. Along with other extra security additions, this is one of the things I'll be adding to my "keychain v2".11
I just went to another local more expensive cafe (or bar or night club for those who are more pedantic than drunk - or sober for that matter - me). Mainly with the idea of getting a girl that I've caught my eye on home. Which of course miserably failed.
At least I've got her Facebook account. Maybe I'll be able to impress her with my about 600 followers there.. not that that really matters, but it's a number, right.
And I've asked to the bartender there for some dihydrogen monoxide (let that sink in for a minute.. 2 hydrogens, one oxide). The guy didn't know what I was asking for, and didn't quite appreciate it. If only he knew...
I bet he'd be one of those people who'd call the local radio station over the dangerous dihydrogen monoxide that's poisoning the water system 🙃6
26 or so hours up now. And I've got a few stories to tell :) feel free to refresh your cup of coffee and take a seat.
Last few days I've been going into this odd place called intown.irl to get in touch with its inhabitants. An odd place I have to say. But in some cases quite rewarding, even got a MILF home with me and into bed at some point. Anyway...
3 days ago I think it is now? Thursday evening I took my laptop to this local bar where I had this issue about dihydrogen monoxide with one of the bartenders earlier (you'll find that rant on those keywords). Still wanted to visit it regardless though, as I met that first woman there earlier that approached me. Unfortunately I didn't see her there that day.
Some bald guy who was clearly drunk approached me. Many people were already giving curious looks at this laptop I brought to the bar. I finally tuned it up with the stickers from FOSDEM.. I'll put a picture of it in the comments. My theme was one of privacy (central), distributions and Google's open source initiative (which aligns with the keychain token I got from them as well). But of course.. that guy.. he thought that a pimped/riced laptop obviously meant that I was a hacker.
Guy went to the toilet.. went back.. and suddenly grabbed my laptop and turned it towards him. Boy was I never more smugly satisfied that those rubber pads on the bottom are quite resilient. Could've almost damaged my screen by trying to grab it like that. But it's a CCFL display.. so high voltage. If it were to become broken.. worth it. 😈
On it at the time was a terminal, pinging Google (had network issues at that bar, to the point where one of the - I think - staff members got up to me and offered the WiFi password and got to talk with me.. more on that later), and my usual Linux desktop along with the Arch anime wallpaper with the quote of Da Vinci.. simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Of course the guy saw the terminal.. and probably reaffirmed.. yep, that's a hacker. At least he wasn't too wrong about the general term.. but the hat.. most likely he was wrong on that one.
Guy left with this question.. "you are a hacker, aren't you."
I replied to him: "No sir. I'm not a hacker. I've got no idea what you're talking about."
Guy kept looking at me weirdly for the whole night to come.
Back to that companion guy though. Mac user, yada yada.. but he told me about his backup solution. Apparently - I shit you not - he has not only the photos on his local device, he's also frequently backing them up in Time Machine (which I was really curious about whether it uses mirroring or snapshots.. he couldn't tell, lmk if you do) but not only that.. he was storing another offsite backup in that very bar, in case his house went on fire.
Now that is a proper backup scheme!!! If only more people were like that.
Seriously though.. that bald guy who took my laptop just like that... I just let it slide for that one time, but I tend to treat my machines as an extension of my very self. I think that was a very uncalled for move. Asshole...
How would you have reacted to such a thing? And.. maybe that's why we technologists don't get outside too often? Fucking everything is hacking these days if it's not Knopkes and Blinkenlights… Not every shell is a h4xx0ring console for h3kk1ng de fasbuk…9
I love it when asshats, that wear testicles for sunglasses, like to ask me a question about my past experience with a given technology. Let's call it "X". After I've said my piece about the desired effect "X" was supposed to achieve, and describe the environment/scope where "X" was used, and describe the pain points I've encountered with it or the headaches "X" has caused in those environments, these camel spunk garglers then try to immediately rebut me by saying that every one of the times they've set "X" technology up it's worked just fine.
So, I kindly remind them that my past experience was in large enterprises where "X" technology just doesn't scale well so I've seen some issues with it.
Spunk Gargler: "Hmmm, must've just not been setup correctly."
I lose my shit (internally of course because I can't afford to be without a job right now.) and say, "I'm not so sure that it wasn't setup correctly, I just don't think that 'X' works properly at the scale of 500+ employee environments well. You've only ever set it up in small offices of like - what, 20 users?"
Shitlord McHerp-a-Derp who's Drunk on Spunk: "Maybe, but it just sounds like a bad configuration was causing those issues to me."
He shuffled back into his office shortly after I basically told him he's a fucking chump playing small team tactics and I've seen shit at scale so I've seen first hand what does and does not work well.
I'm writing this because this is the same fucking imbecile that has only ever encountered a /23 network once before from a client they inherited from a previous MSP team and they didn't know how to "safely change it" to a /24 so they just left it in place.
(BTW, just for the non-networking guys/gals out there, I'm sure you've already guessed it, but a /23 network is NOT a fucking problem!)
These puffy cancerous taint boils that call themselves IT engineers are the fucking problem!
I'm not a dev by trade or training, but trying to learn DevOps, and I can totally see why Dev teams can/sometimes get pissed with infrastructure teams... infrastructure/helpdesk side of IT is full of these fucking meat heads.1
I always faced up to any challenge that I had met. Maybe I was just too selective and always choose the easy stuff, but that's a long discussion.
Anyway, this kinda spoiled me over time to think that I'm all-knowing and all-powerful in everything programming-related. Of course I never compared myself to legends that created IT as we know it today, because then I'd feel useless. I always compared myself to peers, and I rocked. I was never the best, but I was good enough to make the decision of finding the best among my peers difficult.
Until I didn't.
I stumbled upon this blog:
See when the dude last posted? Well pretty much since then, I sometimes get a bit drunk, gather the courage, to fail again, at figuring out how he calculates factorials using regex, or other stuff like that. I don't even know what a Collatz sequence is, and the dude did it in Regex.
I stopped for a while. And then, at work, I met a guy, who pretty much had a ready answer for any problem, any issue, any question, any technical consideration. I felt a nobody next to him. He left now, to work for a brand with few employees, that however is well known around the world.
I wish there were more people like these.1