Tuesday, January 6, 2009

One day in the life of Niniane Wang.

Niniane currently works as an Engineering manager for Google. This was when she was working as a developer as part of the Google Desktop product. You can read more fun stuff here.

March 2004

One day, we are sitting at lunch, and I'm eating a slice of chocolate pecan pie.

Me: Pie is so great! If I had pie every day for the rest of my life, I would be a happy person.

Steve: If you fix all of your bugs, I will give you one thousand pies.

Me: Don't make promises you can't keep, Steve.

Steve: Hm, yes, I should restate. If you fix all of your bugs by tomorrow, I will give you one thousand pies. Wait, how much do pies cost?

Me: 10, 15 bucks.

Steve: [does some mental computations] Ten pies. If you fix all of your bugs by tomorrow, I'll give you ten pies.

Me: Oh really?

Steve: [slightly concerned] How many bugs do you have?

Me: Fifteen.

Steve: [confidently] Yes, ten pies.

Me: Okay, you're on.

Chris: Wait, now, it shouldn't be all-or-nothing. We should say that if Niniane fixes 5 bugs in one day, you give her 1 pie. 10 bugs, 2 pies. All 15, then you give her 10 pies.

Steve and me: Okay, that sounds reasonable.

Omar: What about new bugs that come in?

Steve: Those don't count.

Me: Okay, it's 1pm right now. The bet ends at 1pm tomorrow. Let's shake on it. [shake hands with Steve] Okay, I'll see you guys later! I have some bugs to fix!

I dash off. The next 24 hours are a steady progression of bug fixing. By dinnertime (8pm), I've fixed about 6 bugs. A few of us are discussing the bet.

Chris: You should fix the easy ones first, so that you can be guaranteed 2 pies.

Me: No, I should fix the hard ones first, when I'm not as tired.

Chris: Oho! That must mean you're going for all 10 pies!

Everyone begins to leave work. By 2am, I am the only person left. From 4am to 7am, I took a nap in the massage room down the hall. When I emerge, bleary-eyed, Steve is already back at work and shocked to find me.

Steve: Niniane! You're here so early!

Me: No, I didn't leave. Don't you see I'm wearing the same clothes?

Steve: [looks at the bug count] Oh no! I better take longer to do the code reviews!

By noon, I'd fixed all 15 bugs. Two new "non-pie" bugs had come in during the 24 hours, and I fixed them too for good measure, for a total of 17 by 12:50pm.

Steve had a graph that tracked everyone's bug count over time. Because it didn't handle the case where the bug count is 0, my graph line disappeared from the chart. So the next bug fix immediately following the bet was from Steve, to fix his script to handle 0.

Over the next months, Steve bought me a number of pies:

Pie #1: berry #2: apple #3: pumpkin #4: custard #5: pumpkin for Hallowen


  1. well, i hope you don't have to eat em all up at the same time :P

    happy new year!

  2. :) No, I s'pose she didn't have to. Apparently, those pies were bought at different times.