Some of you have wondered where our Chief Product Engineer Vladimir Concescu has gone.
“Where is Vladimir? Is he working on the Pütz? When will the Pütz be available at The Best Buy?” These are common questions that I have been asked almost every day for the past three months. Unfortunately, until last week, I did not have a good answer.
Sometime during May, Vladimir disappeared. He did not leave a note. He did not mark any days on the Official DuroSport Corporate Vacation Calendar. He did not even turn on his “out of the office” auto-reply in Lotus Notes. The official DuroSport corporate policy dictates that all employees use an “out of the office” auto-reply when leaving the office for more than 9 hours.
Many of us were angry that he would leave the company at such a critical time. We are already one year late bringing the Pütz to market, and now our Chief Product Engineer runs off to who knows where.
Eventually, we all figured out that the company would run much more smoothly without Vladimir around. But that did not change the fact that we are counting on Vladimir to finish his engineering work on the Pütz. There are still many important design issues that we must address. But, unfortunately, it was beginning to look like maybe he was not up to the challenge. Could it be that Vladimir had outdone himself with the Prism DuroSport? Was it possible that the product specifications for the Pütz are so advanced that Vladimir does not have the necessary skills to finish the design?
By July, we stopped worrying and learned to enjoy what we were all beginning to call “our special quiet time without Vladimir.”
This year, the DuroSport employee night at The Safeco Field was particularly enjoyable without Vladimir around. He is constantly arguing that JJ Putz can run faster than Ichiro Suzuki. It is so stupid! He is the only person who could believe that. Maybe JJ can beat Ichiro in arm wrestling, but he is NOT faster than Ichiro.
Then a call came in from the Ministry of Public Awareness. They called to inform me that Vladimir had spent over three months in a Moldovan jail! However, Vladimir had repaid his debt to society, and they would release him as soon as someone could come and sign for him.
When you imagine all of the things that Vladimir might be arrested for, the real story is not so bad. He was “extradited” by The Moldovan Parking Enforcement, with help from The Secret Police, for unpaid parking tickets. The Moldovan government has been cracking down on parking violations recently. They are serious about it too.
When I went to claim Vladimir (yes, I had to fly all the way to Moldova), I found out why they would not release him without a signature. It turns out they needed a valid credit card to cover the cost of Vladimir’s stay. So when I signed for Vladimir, the officer handed me a bill for 85,000 Moldovan Leu!
Here is the worst part. The itemized bill included 20,000 Leu for “prisoner detention” and 65,000 Leu for “data access charges.”
Data access charges?!
If you are unfamiliar with Moldova, you may not know that its prison system has recently undergone several upgrades. For a long time, many whiney “human rights” advocates complained to The United Nations about the treatment of prisoners in Moldova. It was ridiculous. What do they expect? They are prisoners; we should not treat them like they are staying at the Chisinau Inn!
But of course, as is always the case, the prisoners won out, and “activists” forced Moldova to upgrade its prisons. So now it really is like the Chisinau Inn. Except that the Chisinau Inn still does not have The WiFi.
You can guess what Vladimir did the whole time he was in jail. Surfed The MySpace and made even more girlfriends. Who knows what kind of stupid product ideas they will give him.
So, now that Vladimir is back from his Summer Vacation in Moldova, I hope that he will get back to work and finally finish the Pütz. At this rate, they will release Zune 2.0 before the Pütz.