The Utility of Consultants

By Deane Barker on June 18, 2004

A friend of mine sent me this joke today. Pretty funny.

A cowboy was herding his herd in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of a dust cloud towards him. The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses and YSL tie, leans out the window and asks the cowboy, “If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?”

The cowboy looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, “Sure. Why not?”

The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects it to his AT&T cell phone, surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite navigation system to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo.

The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany. Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and the data stored.

He then accesses a Micrsoft SQL Server database through an ODBC-connected Excel spreadsheet with hundreds of complex formulas. He uploads all of this data via an email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, receives a response.

Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet printer and finally turns to the cowboy and says, “You have exactly 1586 cows and calves.”

“That’s right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves,” says the cowboy.

He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on amused as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.

Then the cowboy says to the young man, “Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?”

The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, “Okay, why not?”

“You’re an IT consultant,” says the cowboy.

“Wow! That’s correct,” says the yuppie, “but how did you guess that?”

“No guessing required.” answered the cowboy “You showed up here even though nobody called you, you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked, and you don’t know anything about my business.”

“Now give me back my dog.”

Gadgetopia

Comments

  1. I remember having read this one as blondie version, i.e., a brunette meets a shepherd and asks wether she can keep a sheep if she guesses the correct number. She does; being asked how, she says she had counted all legs and devided them by four. So she gets to take a sheep with her – but then the shepherd asks, wether he can get back his dog if he guesses her correct hair colour.

    Well, I like this IT Consultant version better! Also because there’s a flaw in the other version – I always asked myself: how did she get the correct number if she took the dog for a sheep?? Maybe she was smarter than we think and intended to get the cute doggie right from the beginning :-)

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