Several years ago we established a good working relationship with a software developer, we became his sole agents in this region, he was a miserable bas’tad who worked alone from one of the bedrooms in his house and he had no idea on how to market his otherwise excellent software – so we did it for him.
Then one day I received a phone call from someone who’s command of the English language was of a limited nature, a young Chinese girl trying to interest businesses like ours in their line of manufacture, fingerprint readers, I didn’t exactly tell her we weren’t interested and so she began the pestering.
Several weeks later I found myself agreeing to meet her and her boss at my office to discuss how we were going to sell their products, we weren’t going to sell their products but they seemed to think we were, maybe I should have told her that, but I didn’t.
So on the appointed day they turned up for their appointment, three very young, very attractive Chinese girls and one Chinese gentleman who I can only describe fairly as resembling Benny Hill’s impression of a chinese man – and only one of the visitors could speak English.
He explained through his interpreter that they had based themselves in Manchester for a six month duration during which they intended to establish a network of distributors for their fingerprint readers, to which he had brought one for me to look at – it looked fine to me, it worked fine, and they were cheap, like very cheap, like so cheap compared to the fingerprint readers that we were currently purchasing from our UK suppliers that I really wondered if the Chinaman had stolen these readers, I could have bought ten of them for the price I was currently paying for one of the UK supplied ones.
They had some software to go with the readers and frankly it was a bag of shit, and so I told him so. I’m not sure how the translation got through to him but he seemed to agree, their software was rubbish and had been badly translated from Chinese to English by someone who obviously didn’t speak English – I’ve done the same thing myself when trying to send emails to French people by using Babelfish translators, the French think its hilarious when random disjointed words appear in an email.
So the Chinaman asked me to show him the software that we sold, and so I did.
He was most impressed and agreed through his translator that his software was a bag of shit and ours was very good, then he paused for a while, thinking, and he said something to his translator who smiled nervously and asked me…
“Mr Wong say, can he take copy of soffware back to China wiv him ?”
I hesitated, our software writer promised us that his programme was very well encrypted, we had discussed the possibility of someone reproducing it in the past and he had vehemently defended his right to sue anyone who tried to copy it, but he was one miserable bas’tad who worked from one of his bedrooms against the might of China.
The Chinaman said something else to his interpreter
“Mr Wong say, how much you pay your soffware writer ?”
£500 a day was the answer, he wouldn’t get out of bed for anything less, indeed he didn’t get out of bed, he worked from his bedroom like the grandparents in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, remember ?
“Mr Wong say, if you need any soffware writer, he charge £8 a day in China”
Fook me, are you sure ?
“Mr Wong say, if you let him take copy of soffware back to China next month then he crack encryption in three day”
Oh my god.
“Mr Wong say, he then re-write and re-badge soffware so your writer does not know it is his soffware, will take another two day”
Jesus Christ, now I’m interested
“Mr Wong say, will cost abou’ £40 to do all this, he sell back to you for £20 a copy”
This isn’t legal, surely ?
But £20 a copy, I pay £300 a copy to the actual, real writer of the programme, hmmmmm,
“Mr Wong say, no copyright law in China and you not know anything ok ?”
Well, erm, can I think about it ?
Disclaimer 1 : The names have been changed to protect the guilty
Disclaimer 2 : I didn’t give him a copy of our “soffware” and nor did we do any business with them – no really we didn’t