×

Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

NYT Paywall Cost $40 Million: How?

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the difficult-to-weave-the-net-just-so dept.

Programming 305

An anonymous reader submits this musing from Philip Greenspun's blog: "Aside from wondering who will pay more than the cost of a Wall Street Journal subscription in order to subscribe to the New York Times, my biggest question right now is how the NY Times spent a reported $40-50 million writing the code (Bloomberg; other sources are consistent). Google was financed with $25 million. The New York Times already had a credit card processing system for selling home delivery. It already had a database management system for keeping track of Web site registrants. What did they spend the $40-50 million on?" Maybe the folks behind CityTime were free on weekends.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Large organization doing something simple (5, Insightful)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706440)

I can actually see how this happens. Large organizations spending millions and taking years to do something a small team could whip up (and probably do a better job of) in a few months.

Different team sizes are required for different tasks. Some companies get this and put small teams together and have flexible processes that can scale to project size. Other companies can only do things one way, and that’s where you end up with insanity such as this.

You end up with layers and layers of process controlling huge unwieldy teams. You spend months just drafting the process by which you’ll operate under, and then it needs to be reviewed and this is before development even begins! You end up with 5 layers of management, each providing no real value to anything... but adding lots of time and cost.

You’ll need to gather metrics of course, so you need to figure out what metrics you need, and how you will analyse them, and how they will feed back into the dev process. And of course you’ll need someone to actually facilitate all this with some kind of metric crunching tool (which has to be bought and admined as well).

A simpler way. (4, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706500)

Follow the money.

Someone is getting paid. Find out who and what that person's connection to the person signing off on that expense is.

Re:A simpler way. (1, Troll)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706712)

If this was government work you'd know without a shadow of a doubt that they're laundering political kickbacks through IT projects, as usual...and some underpaid fresh-out-of-school coder(s) would be left to do the real work for peanuts while the person who was paid so much to do the work would take an extended vacation to a sunny tropical place with a favorable exchange rate and extradition policy (not that it really matters because the issue would be quickly forgotten).

Ask me how I know (actually don't, I shouldn't say too much).

Re:A simpler way. (2)

paiute (550198) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706952)

If this was government work you'd know without a shadow of a doubt that they're laundering political kickbacks through IT projects

You mean they're overbilling and using the overage to fund black ops projects like unmanned shuttles.

"You don't actually think they spend $20,000.00 on a hammer, $30,000.00 on a toilet seat do you?"

Re:A simpler way. (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706978)

We all know the drill. Some interns from the mail room do the coding while the Ivy League MBA guys with a major in Bullshitology blow tons of money on booze, drugs and hookers.

Re:Large organization doing something simple (5, Interesting)

headhot (137860) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706504)

I'm a consultant in telecom. I see this every day. I'm convinced that any project, no matter how big can be done by 6 people.

Re:Large organization doing something simple (5, Insightful)

rwven (663186) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706568)

I'm a consultant in telecom. I see this every day. I'm convinced that any project, no matter how big can be done by 6 people.

QFT. In my experience it seems like, for the most part, a small, highly skilled, highly focused team can accomplish at least as much (or in some cases far more) than any large team of developers/architects. Decisions are easier, faster, and cheaper to make when you have a group of people with industry experience and know-how. The amount of code needing to be laid down for most web projects really isn't THAT large....especially when it comes to a project like this NYT example.

I also think (and this probably goes without saying around here) that a top-heavy management structure is an instant doubling (or probably worse) of time and budget for any project. I was on a development team once that had twice as many people-management and project-management positions as there were developers, and it was an absolute nightmare. Developers ended up sitting around twiddling their thumbs waiting for someone to actually make a decision and call down the order to act.

Re:Large organization doing something simple (5, Insightful)

jimbrooking (1909170) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706782)

Agreed. Long before most of you were born, i.e., in the 1960s-70s, it was a given that if IBM told you (a customer) that they were putting another 100 people to work on a piece of late software, they were really telling you the project had been killed. And of course there's the classic Mythical Man Month (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mythical_Man-Month) which, of course, no one reads any more.

Re:Large organization doing something simple (3, Interesting)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707150)

And of course there's the classic Mythical Man Month (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mythical_Man-Month) which, of course, no one reads any more.

Funny, it was required reading in my software engineering course. Then again, perhaps it is not the developers who need to be reading it; more likely, it is management.

Re:Large organization doing something simple (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706936)

I agree. We're a 2 person company that's bid on projects against larger competitors. We've had customers call us in after going months or over a year with the larger companies and not having any deliverables.

We've turned around the project in a fraction of the time it took a larger team to even start. It's absolutely insane.

The common reason that we're not taken seriously is that we don't have a big enough team to deliver on time, and if these larger companies can't stay on schedule then we have no hope in hell.

The reason why we can turn things around in time is that we're committed, we know what we're doing, we work together well and we don't milk the customer.

We split the project and run with our tasks, we don't wait for an architect or management to sign off on anything.

I've worked for a large company and hated it. The politics were the biggest problem. Then management had to be educated in what had to be done. Write-ups by the architects had to be explained and clarified back to management because they knew squat. They were the ones that had to communicate to the customer so they had to know what they were talking about. We've suggested that some of the programmers could go and pretend to be the front guys just so the management training sessions would be reduced. That didn't go over well as the managers felt that they were being pinched out of their jobs.

What's worse is that the programmers that headed the projects were related to upper management. They had no clue but were given huge responsibilities, and all of the perks. One of the kids refused to do the job unless he got a Porsche as a starting bonus. Next day there it was in the parking lot. That's when I decided to leave...

Now, the two of us work from home. We have flexible hours, spend time with our kids and get the work done on time or ahead of schedule. We have control over the flow of information needed from the customers and 3rd parties and don't rely on others to forget to contact someone. It may sound inefficient but we're spending less time waiting for others and more time doing the work. We get together when we need to. Most of the time it's online collaboration or telephone.

Re:Large organization doing something simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706574)

another consultant here (ACN)

no it can't. at least not if it requires any requirement analysis. (which is usually the biggest part - figuring out what end-users and clients need)

Re:Large organization doing something simple (3, Interesting)

bjourne (1034822) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706714)

Hah requirement analysis! Aka doing a lot of mind numbing paper work that if you are lucky the engineers are able to ignore and still produce a quality product. Or, if you're not so lucky, have to follow it because clueless managers don't know how software design works resulting in releasing something which is a veritable disaster. People are notoriously bad at reasoning about abstract things, especially if they don't have the technical know-how on how those things really work, which is why "requirement analysis" is a waste of time.

Re:Large organization doing something simple (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35707208)

Yes, it's much better to simply start coding. Engineers always know the best way to use the software, and can deliver exactly what's needed by the business, even when they don't understand the business, and they don't understand the users.

In fact, life would be much easier if the Lusers would get out of the way and let us produce masterpieces of UI work like these Android screenshots [tumblr.com] , amirite?

Re:Large organization doing something simple (1)

fruey (563914) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706576)

"any project, no matter how big" can be split into sub-lots which can be done by 6 people... but may take a lot of time if the same six people have to install in several different countries, or install hundreds of machines for infrastructure :)

Re:Large organization doing something simple (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706586)

I'm a consultant in telecom. I see this every day. I'm convinced that any project, no matter how big can be done by 6 people.

There are probably a few exception, but add two or three good testers (who should not be the implementers) and I think that would cover 99% of projects

Re:Large organization doing something simple (1, Interesting)

grouchyDude (322842) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706594)

Please do not save me a seat on the space shuttle you build.

Re:Large organization doing something simple (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707088)

Please do not save me a seat on the space shuttle you build.

If the telecom world built a space shuttle, you'd be billed in one inch increments in detail for the entire launch, it would be almost impossible to find out how much it'll cost other than the short term advertised rate, most of the operating budget would go toward TV commercials and the previously mentioned billing system, and they'd market their launch service as being "unlimited" but if you tried to remain in orbit too long they'd either shoot you down or bill by the inch traveled at exorbitant rates. If you want water, air, and fuel, you'll have to sign up for each separately at a high monthly fee. Randomly stuff would stop working and someone with one day of training in a call center on the other side of the planet, would read a script asking you to reboot your spacecraft, while simultaneously trying to upsell you more services you don't need "Well sir I'm very sorry to hear your space station crashed. While we wait for it to reboot, would you like to hear about our special offer on moon bases?".

But, the good news is, the shuttle would be "free" if you signed a two year contract.

Like the original poster, I also worked in telecom, I know how it is...

Re:Large organization doing something simple (5, Funny)

dlingman (1757250) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706672)

I'm a consultant in telecom. I see this every day. I'm convinced that any project, no matter how big can be done by 6 people.

I guess you don't have any kids then. (What am I saying. This is slashdot.)

Re:Large organization doing something simple (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706870)

kids are usuallly something which gets done by teams of 2 people.

Re:Large organization doing something simple (2)

ShadoHawk (741112) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707056)

Yeah. And only one is needed after the project is started... ;)

Re:Large organization doing something simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706958)

I'm reading slashdot and i have 2 kids... :)

Re:Large organization doing something simple (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706740)

Case in point Windows Vista. *ducks*

Re:Large organization doing something simple (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706796)

I'm convinced that any project, no matter how big can be done by 6 people.

Linux

Re:Large organization doing something simple (5, Interesting)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706866)

Prerequisite: the team must be equipped with powertools to cut through the red tape.

Say, open line to the CEO who just says "yes" to anything they say and authority to fire whoever stops them from performing their task.

Depending on company structure, 10-60% of the time of any "revolutionary" change is spent actually developing the change, the remainder is asking, waiting, begging, urging, pressing, explaining, escalating and generally overcoming people who while aware of the necessity of the change and futility of their resistance, will resist the change as much as they can (or see it as the opportunity to exercise their decision-making power, which is totally unneeded and unwelcome there but by no means anyone could ever notice that.)

Re:Large organization doing something simple (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706874)

I'm a consultant in telecom. I see this every day. I'm convinced that any project, no matter how big can be done by 6 people.

The six monkeys with typewriters living an infinite amount of time theory?

Re:Large organization doing something simple (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706946)

I'm a consultant in telecom. I see this every day.

Look at the spectacular cost of billing systems in the old-world voice telecom... You need 24x7 monitoring NOC and NOC tools and troubleshooting tools for the multiple geographically separate multiple synchronized billing database servers. And, being telecom, you need at least eight layers of management, minimum, each of which needs different reporting systems and dashboards. Finally there's the intermittent / process oriented / batch oriented monitoring tools required. And probably some queuing software, and I'm sure they won't use something cheap or opensource. On the input side you need multiple separate diverse communications links, all monitored by the 24x7 NOC of course using the most expensive tools possible. On the output side you need multiple backup systems and offsite backup, and of course infrastructure to restore old data, for legal and billing disputes. And you need it all security audited to be secure because its chock full of personally identifiable information and needs to be ADA and SOX compliant. Much as public libraries are used as a harassment tool in lawsuits by being forced to provide detailed patron records, you can assume that online newspaper readers will be harassed the same way, so you need to store every click for a long time or accept the costs of being in contempt of court.

You know that at the telco, you're gonna have to sell an unholy heck of a lot of minutes at one penny per minute just to pay for the billing infrastructure that collects those pennies, or you'll have to pay for all that infrastructure upfront as much capex as possible. Or you can save everybody a lot of money and just bill flat rate...

Both in telecom billing, and apparently the "great firewall of NYT" the situation is very much like selling 25 cent cans of soda pop for 50 cents out of a trillion dollar vending machine, it would be less of a loss to just give it away.

Re:Large organization doing something simple (4, Insightful)

fruey (563914) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706532)

Two well identified principles at work here (and the bigger an organisation, the more likely they are to happen, especially without strong leadership)

1. Parkinson's law : basically, work spreads out to fill the time that was earmarked to complete a project
2. Brooks' law : Adding people to a project increases lateness, because the number of communication channels to manage increases as a square of the number of people on a project

Only very sound management and trusting delegation - along with having a reasonably competent project team in the first place - can make things happen quickly.

Re:Large organization doing something simple (1)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706980)

This is the truth. Mod parent up. IT Project Managers all need to read Steve McConnell's "Rapid Application Development". It is literally The Holy Bible of IT Proj Mgmt.

Re:Large organization doing something simple (5, Informative)

PsyciatricHelp (951182) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706644)

I actually use to work for the Times as a tech and all I can say is, man you nailed it.

Re:Large organization doing something simple (1)

zimtmaxl (667919) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706722)

I do not know anything about the NYT. But I have seen large European corporations: 5 layers of management: 3-4 of these layers doing nothing but exchanging and adjusting project plans (using Power Point!) with each other - and of course: finding arguments to increase their project's budgets. And of course making a lot of fuss about their busyness. I have also heard of a project which needed to cut costs. This is what they did: add another one or two managers, reduce the staff of developers (who do the actual work) by two and cut all others' hourly wages. If a project has a good manager, that is great! But unfortunately my experience tells me that for every great manager there are about 20 managers who act like a trainee.

Re:Large organization doing something simple (2)

wisdom_brewing (557753) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706792)

Don't be so insulting to trainees!

Re:Large organization doing something simple (2)

sarhjinian (94086) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706880)

I think you've pretty much explained the last ten years at Nokia.

Re:Large organization doing something simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706746)

Lack of Project Management leadership. Any basic course of MIS would have anyone educated in IT should evaluate at every junction the cost and ROI of a project. Obviously if there were people there that knew this, the top brass ignored it. This occurs when the Top Brass usually are too focused on the end result and are convinced of its perfection once delivered will answer all questions. Unfortunately, the bottom line dollars get skipped.

Re:Large organization doing something simple (5, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706844)

I should point out that the NYT Paywall is apparently a much more complex beast than a simple "pay up to see the articles". What they're trying to do is allow search engines, Twitter, and other social media to drive traffic to them, but at the same time not allow people to regularly read their content for free.

My guess as to the approximate cost breakdown:
- consulting fees to convince the top brass to go along with this plan even though the last attempt failed miserably: $20 million
- project management and business analysis: $10 million
- profits for the purchase manager's brother-in-law's IT contracting firm: $9 million
- 8 developers and 2 testers to do the actual work: $1 million
- Watching online readership plummet again: Priceless.

Re:Large organization doing something simple (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706916)

The depressing thing about the "big budget" development efforts is that the bigger the budget, the bigger the likelihood that it will fail.

Some of the most successful software I've ever seen was fairly ugly stuff that was knocked out in short order by less than 5 people. Years later, as it finally begins to seriously creak at the seams, the corporation puts together a massive team to bring it up to date. They spend massive amounts of time and money on consultants, fad "silver bullet" development tools and fad "silver bullet" project management techniques. 18 months into the 2-year schedule, they realize they've spent a year and a half generation UML Actor diagrams, panic, and immediately set everyone to work coding, without any coherent blueprint at all. The whole thing falls apart, lots of people get laid off, and maybe 2-3 people go in and hack the original warty system to keep it going. With luck, one can repeat this cycle several times.

No surprise (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706450)

The NYT's entire outlook towards life is economically incorrect. Yes, I am a fiscal conservative and this just demonstrates to me they have no handle on the economy. Krugman is out of touch with reality.

Re:No surprise (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706754)

Yes, I am a fiscal conservative and this just demonstrates to me they have no handle on the economy.

And yet what happens every single time a fiscal conservative is in charge of the US doesn't demonstrate anything to you?

Re:No surprise (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706892)

shh don't tell him that. Don't tell him that every time there is a republican in the white house the economy crashes. one of the few exceptions was the dot bomb of the clinton era.

The problem with republicans is they cut taxes first and then try to cut spending to match but quite get there.

First thing you do is raise taxes to cover your existing problems
Second you do is to cut spending to better levels
Third is to use the difference between steps 1 and 2 to pay off the debt
Fourth is to cut taxes to #2 levels.

4 simple steps that will take roughly 15 years to fully implement. of course we will have 3-4 presidential elections by that point and each one will gut at least part of the process. Just like Bush gutted Clinton's tax setting to make us have a balanced budget by now. How did Bush do that by giving tax breaks before the debt was dealt with, and doubling the national debt in the process.

Re:No surprise (0)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706894)

What, you mean the fact that when a fiscal conservative is in charge, the U.S. economy does much better than when a fiscal liberal is in charge?

Re:No surprise (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707064)

If by "better" you mean "debt-tastic."

But it might seem better at the time, in the same way that going on a crazy party bender while charging to your credit card would.

Re:No surprise (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707162)

And yet what happens every single time a fiscal conservative is in charge of the US doesn't demonstrate anything to you?

To be fair, though, when was the last time a fiscal conservative was in charge of the US?

Re:No surprise (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706846)

I realize that stupidity is a prerequisite for being a fiscal conservative, but blaming Krguman for the NYT paywall being overpriced has to be the dumbest statement of all time.

Re:No surprise (1)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707086)

4/10, the Krugman part gave it away really..

frosty piss (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706460)

asdfg

Its easy (4, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706472)

A lot of it will have gone into executive information components of the system. Ways of showing the guys in charge exactly how much money they are making from the paywall this minute. Then you have the configuration interfaces and the teams to design datasets to control how the paywall works. Then you have the engineering which actually implements the paywall. They probably wrote a proxy from scratch to do that. Then they put it through validation. This created 10000 bug reports. Thats a lot of bugs so they outsourced the bug fixing to four companies in India who approached the solutions in 223 different ways. Then the resulting code changes were merged back into the mainline with bugs closed. Nobody wanted to do the tests again which was probably a good idea for the sanity of the people involved. Then they went live.

Well, thats my guess, anyway.

Re:Its easy (5, Funny)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706590)

you actually forgot one bit.

hiring 'shadow developers' (also known as retards) and inflating the team size from the 10 needed to the unnecessary 100+ with testers. the times still receives just the output from 5 good guys but gets a bill for 100+. and every new person introduced to the team is more profit, as the there's more hours and persons to bill for(so they hire an unnecessary new guy/gal to inflate the team, the new person costs say 5000$ a month, the client is billed for 6000$, the company ruining executives keeping the difference . and universities have been just inventing new professions so it's pretty easy to inflate the team with sheep experts, marketing advisors, accessibility destroyers etc. and every single one of them will try to come up with output that would change the end product somehow, to justify their job).

Re:Its easy (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706826)

> the new person costs say 5000$ a month, the client is billed for 6000$

ROFL! Where do you work? If the new person costs $5000/month then they most likely get billed at $275/hour.

Re:Its easy (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707060)

I'm in Finland, nobodys got money to pay 275/hour now, even if it got results. maybe in 1999, but not now, so the name of the game has been what I just said, I wasn't trying to be funny :.

the point of this small bleeding - which is scaled up, so it's small only per person - is just that, it's easier to justify new help than paying the old guys what they should be paid. it unfortunately makes things happen a lot slower, not faster. also it dilutes responsibility so you can't even point out anyone doing anything wrong.. everything goes by the book but the results are a disaster.

unnecessary 100+ with testers (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707072)

Testers (good ones, anyway) are vital. A good tester will find the edge cases that the developer never thought of, or the holes in the requirements that the designer never thought of, but that end users will inevitably find.

CAL's (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706476)

Microsoft client access licences for all subscrbers?
Paywall is implemented in sharepoint

What did they spend the $40-50 million on? (5, Insightful)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706484)

Consulting.

What else offers so little for so much?

Re:What did they spend the $40-50 million on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706634)

My guess is that it all wound up in India.

Re:What did they spend the $40-50 million on? (1)

joe_garage (1664999) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706662)

This is a trend -consulting fees, otherwise how did the CND gov spend 1.5billion$ on the federal gun registry to register maybe 7 million guns (that really no one wanted anyway) .....

Re:What did they spend the $40-50 million on? (1)

Blymie (231220) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706664)

The sad part is that there *are* good consultants out there. I'm one of them. I'm extremely skilled, knowledgeable, and I bring a lot to the table.

Frankly, there are a *lot* of firms out there that have unskilled admins, that only need help during certain projects, or during time of distress. As well, as long as the person doing the audit is acceptable, external security audits are a GOOD thing. If one truly cares about security (and not ego), external audits are great. Lastly, there are firms that are too small to really staff a full time admin, and can use a consultant for 5 hours per day, or per week, or for some -- 5 hours per month!

However, I know precisely what you are talking about, when you complain about consultants. I've seen so many incompetent consultants, and I've seen even more greedy ones. As an example, I've seen consultant firms offer *less*, and charge literally 4 times the price that I do. Said firm had a consultant who was touted as an 'expert', yet was a roofer 6 months earlier, and hadn't even used a command line before then.

The worst of the worst, from what I've seen, are web design firms. I can't even imagine how they get off charging $50k, for drupal/joomla installs, with about 10 hours of graphic design, and about 10 hours of followup work. It is utterly bizarre!

Re:What did they spend the $40-50 million on? (4, Insightful)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706928)

The sad part is that there *are* good consultants out there. I'm one of them. I'm extremely skilled, knowledgeable, and I bring a lot to the table.

...but that's what they all say.

Answers (1)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706488)

1. Stupidity
2. Ignorance
3. Stupidity + Ignorance
Fomr the highest company levels (C*O) down to the managers.

Re:Answers (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706540)

You forgot the last two very important steps.

Re:Answers (1)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706704)

?
profit ?

Re:Answers (1)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706778)

Backhander? Insider business?

Windows licenses? ;) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706496)

In regard to the above poster who asks "what else offers so little for so much", clearly this would...

Explanation. (2)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706502)

They hired the same guys the government uses to create $10mil Drupal websites.

Corporation (4, Funny)

moberry (756963) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706508)

$45,000 for the implementation, and $39,955,000 in management bonuses.

Re:Corporation (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706674)

More like

45,000 for the developers
10,423,243.54 in legal fees
14,251,136.87 in management bonuses
7,472,223.45 for (self-)financing interest and opportunity costs

The numbers don't add up, of course

Re:Corporation (1)

jovius (974690) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707148)

The reasoning: $40 million is only $0.005 per every human being, so if each potential future customer paid even one dollar once a year for the content we'd make $7 BILLION profit. It's a perpetual money making machine! Some even pay twice!

Why? Rupert likes to keep money moving around (1, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706514)

I'd lay bets that nearly all of that was funnelled into another bit of Newscorp which charged the New York Times for the work. That's how taxes are dodged and books inflated so that the entire company looks like it holds more money that it does while the reality is less money moving in a loop to turn up as others are watching. He's apparently been doing that one for decades.
Besides, Murdoch's entire collection of newspaper companies is probably worth less than he got for selling a Chinese cable TV network last year. He can afford to prop up the newspapers if it helps stop Google from cutting in to the money he gets from advertising in all of his media companies.

Re:Why? Rupert likes to keep money moving around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706534)

I don't think Newscorp owns any significant amount of the NYT. You are thinking of the Wall Street Journal, which they do own.

Re:Why? Rupert likes to keep money moving around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706536)

Yeah makes sense "expenses, balance sheet, debt, leverage..." Nasty bugger.

Re:Why? Rupert likes to keep money moving around (5, Informative)

charlievarrick (573720) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706548)

Great theory but Newscorp does not own the New York Times, it owns the New York Post.

Re:Why? Rupert likes to keep money moving around (4, Informative)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706556)

Rupert Murdoch doesn't own the New York Times. He owns the New York Post.

Re:Why? Rupert likes to keep money moving around (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706924)

That's a great theory, except for the fact that unlike Newscorp, the New York Times Corporation is losing money hand over fist in all of its operations so there is no need to dodge taxes.

simple (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706520)

- external contractors
- external consultants
- high billing for internal IT Business Analysts, PMs etc.

you never worked on a big it project in a non-it company, did you?

repurposed joke from recently read comment: (5, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706522)

http://politics.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2067216&cid=35703166 [slashdot.org]

An investment firm is hiring mathematicians. After the first round of interviews, three hopeful recent graduates - a pure mathematician, an applied mathematician, and a graduate in mathematical finance - are asked what starting salary they are expecting. The pure mathematician: "Would $30,000 be too much?" The applied mathematician: "I think $60,000 would be OK." The math finance person: "What about $300,000?" The personnel officer is flabberghasted: "Do you know that we have a graduate in pure mathematics who is willing to do the same work for a tenth of what you are demanding!?" "Well, I thought of $135,000 for me, $135,000 for you - and $30,000 for the pure mathematician who will do the work."

thank you, SilverHatHacker (1381259) for the joke

Re:repurposed joke from recently read comment: (2)

Psicopatico (1005433) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707070)

That wasn't a joke

gallows humor (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707154)

is best humor

Stupid comparison (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706524)

Apples: Creating a search engine from scratch. The main hook is that it is simpler than existing products. User workflow involves typing in a term and clicking a link, and users are interested in it because it's different than competing products. No money (remember, this is before Google Ads) is changing hands.

Oranges: Changing the user experience for a major existing site. Users are already familiar with the existing site and already inclined to react negatively because you're now charging for what was free. Money is changing hands, so a complete system for handling disputes and showing purchase history is required. The whole system has to hook into existing customer service systems. Customer service systems behind the scenes have to be extended. Support personnel have to be trained. Legal considerations for multiple states or possibly nations may be involved. Management needs reporting features.

natives.babys; nobody's leavin' 'til it's all even (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706558)

or, until monkeys have hymens. just the truth. no substitute.

40 million to read fictional 'news', advertising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706640)

even if it were engaging fiction, that would be a lot. how about who fauxking needs it? folks who must read euphoric hopeful stories of the holycost profitsizing crusades, & the resulting unproven deaths? then, shop for a villa in the south of... where ever there's some above water yet? left?

Good question (2)

QID (60884) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706564)

I work for a large, multinational corporation, full of all sorts of layers of management and unpleasantness, and the current rather sizable program I'm working on--months of development and engineering work, lots of hardware, custom-built stuff ordered from all over the place--is still well under $40 million. If this is one of the supposedly greatest newspapers in the world and they manage to spend that much money on so little, no wonder print is fucked. They've done it to themselves.

Re:Good question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706788)

...that's a huge extrapolation isn't it? Just because the NYT spends money like the Fed doesn't mean all newspapers do. I don't think the Times can be viewed as the model (and likewise business model) of all print news papers.

For comparison's sake (2)

osgeek (239988) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706596)

The Obama administration's web sites for promoting transparency in government were around $34 Million [publicintegrity.org] just to keep them running.

1 million for the code (4, Funny)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706618)

39 million for the oracle license.

The Yorkshire Ranter thinks it's reasonable (2)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706624)

The complexity of the rules makes it sound like a telco billing system more than anything else - all about rating and charging lots and lots of events in close to real-time based on a hugely complicated rate-card. You'd be amazed how many software companies are sustained by this issue. It's expensive.

http://yorkshire-ranter.blogspot.com/2011/04/scaling-and-scoping-nyt-paywall.html [blogspot.com]

Re:The Yorkshire Ranter thinks it's reasonable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35707188)

<troll>Between December 1974 and her death in March 1982, Ayn Rand collected a total of $11,002 in Social Security payments.</troll>

[citation needed]

millions (1)

Spaham (634471) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706654)

They spent so much BECAUSE they already had all the separate parts,
written probably by separate contractors, and had to dig into them, and
make them work together...

Cocaine. (0)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706678)

LOTS of cocaine.

NYC - question answered. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706686)

I love to visit NYC, but I'd never actually live there ... unless you PAID ME ... LOTS.

I see job posting for NYC all the time. No thanks.

OTOH, I suppose lots of people would never want to live where I do either. I've lived in 15 different cities around the USA and this was the first time I actually got to select where I lived and didn't move for a job. Hub airport without blizzards without crazy state taxes - enough said.

Re:NYC - question answered. (1)

ThatMegathronDude (1189203) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706908)

I don't consider that good enough reason to live in Houston...

Accenture? (1)

asifyoucare (302582) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706730)

or maybe Computer Associates?

Dude, shut up! (5, Funny)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706734)

Look, we told them we had to program an autonomous artificial intelligence agent to proactively scan cyberspace for hackers looking to bypass the firewall using port cross-scripting. They bought it, don't screw this up for us.

Re:Dude, shut up! (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707094)

Can't trust those guys from Manhattan.

Kansas, that is.

People should read Dilbert more often. (1)

Mr2cents (323101) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706738)

I'm sure a pointy haired boss was involved.

Re:People should read Dilbert more often. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35707036)

I'm pretty sure multiple pointy-haired bosses were involved.

How it works (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706744)

For a company that doesn't do this kind of work, they would probably have had to hire an advisory company or 2 for advice on how to go about it. This company will send an army of consultants who will talk to every dept in the organization to see how things work and then provide some key points on organizational changes and basic requirements of the paywall. Next stage is for them to choose vendors and once they have been chosen a detailed look at current systems, changes to be done on the current systems to support new paywall, possible migration of all old data to new systems will be done. Then there is inputs from every employee regarding what features they would like to see for them to be able to take on new responsibilities.

40 million does seem a bit much, but easily advisory would have cost them 5 million. Organizational changes, new hiring for paywall business administration and support of new systems would have easily cost another 15 million.

Also they may be adding the cost of any organizational change to paywall project.

It's easy (5, Interesting)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706758)

I watched the Navy burn $27 million on a glorified CRM that used Siebel and never got any working components. While that clusterfuck was going on a small team of four people built a prototype type system that was eventually rolled out to production because it was the only one that worked.

The person responsible for the $27 million dollar disaster got promoted and took over management of the working system, which they promptly turned over to EDS to manage.

When it comes to software development, spending more doesn't necessarily get you more.

Growth? (1)

mangusman (778529) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706794)

So I'm curious. What's the projected subscriber growth over the next five years? Is it enough to justify the development cost and investment? Or was the cost primarily aimed at NOT getting hacked?

BTW - anyone hit it yet? (1)

JackSpratts (660957) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706798)

I was on it all day every day last week, logged in and not, and hadn't. Maybe they're rolling it out slowly. If not I'm fairly certain they didn't get their money's worth.

"If that's Carlos Slim on the line we're not in!"

- js.

Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706822)

Management bonuses, Marketing, and sending the code to India which required re-write upon re-write upon re-write.

Uhh... (4, Interesting)

Panaflex (13191) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706834)

Well it's quite possible to "book" the value of a project much higher than you may actually outlay at any present time. Remember, these costs get deducted, deprecated and ultimately reduce tax burdens.

Or maybe it was just hookers and blow...

They oursourced it to ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706872)

... Epsilon ...

NYT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35707068)

Tres Simple! 30 for you, 30 for me, 30 for the guy who does the job.

Tygerll

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?