It’s the mid-1990s, and this pilot fish works as a software developer at a big insurance company where his focus is applications — applications from potential customers for new life-insurance policies, that is.

“Our new-business data entry is the start of all applications entering our company,” says fish. “We’ve got a large networked piece of software that is critical to the processing of all these new applications, using a glorified desktop as a server.”

One morning, fish stops by the data entry department on his way upstairs, and he can tell right away that something’s wrong. Everyone is standing around in little groups talking instead of working.

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