Apr 192005

Ken Henderson popped up on the radar recently with this post about the obsolescence of MFC.  Not that I watch the MFC news, but he mentions Delphi’s role in the evolution of development standards and expectations, and how MFC doesn’t cut it.

Ken wrote more than a dozen best-selling SQL database books (such as Database Developer’s Guide with Delphi 2) back when he was independent and/or part of Arthur Anderson’s consulting swat team.  I had the privilege to tech edit several of his Delphi books, which was easy money because Ken usually got it right on the first pass and has a very easy to read narrative style.  Ken later did a stint as a founding member of JPMorgan’s Risk Metrics Group, architecting a system (in Delphi) to measure and balance risk exposure in very large portfolios.

You should hear some of the stories Ken can tell about the disasters people/companies create for themselves – often by not thinking objectively.  He should know, because he was the “cleaner“ – the guy they brought in to fix it fast, and pull somebody’s anatomy out of the fire.  I teased him a little by calling him “Victor the Cleaner” a few times, after Jean Reno’s memorable character in La Femme Nikita.  Ken’s not tall, dark, heavily armed, or French, but other than that his consulting gigs sounded in many ways like Victor’s.

In several cases, he dipped into his black bag of munitions and pulled out a Delphi solution.  In one particular case, he broke through a database application’s performance logjam hacking at it (with Delphi) for an evening in his hotel room.  The customer had mixed emotions when told the next morning that a) their problem had been solved overnight and b) they had wasted millions of dollars and dozens of man-months by using the wrong tools for the task.

Ken’s been putting his real-world datacenter knowledge of MS SQLSever to good use at Microsoft for the past couple of years or so.  He’s got the experience, and the scars to prove it.

It’s so much fun having sleeper agents everywhere!  ;>