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Thursday, December 29th, 2022, 5:48 am

Lies as Standard Business Practice

Slobodan Miloševi?: I heard Sirius is hiring

Summary: At Sirius ‘Open Source’ people who lie, cheat and trample all over other people are trying to frame themselves as voices of reason and justice; nothing could be further from the truth and it casts Sirius in a negative light (as if it’s an outlaw organisation that escapes from one shell to the next to dodge liabilities, accountability and thus enjoy de facto impunity)

THE management at Sirius ‘Open Source’ has begun to resemble the EPO‘s Benoît Battistelli. Sure, it’s not French (EPO management has been French for like 85% of the time in recent years; António Campinos was no exception). There are even kangaroo courts. For those who don’t know, kangaroo courts are meant to seem like a place where justice is available; but in practice it’s just theatrics.

The management at Sirius ‘Open Source’ has been trying to downsize, but it is struggling to come up with the money required for separation fees. Moreover, instead of keeping skilled people it is aiming to retain family members. Yes, this is how awful things have become…

Having failed to convince people to leave willfully (to avoid having to pay separation fees), the management began trying to cause guilt, shame, and humiliation. It’s a common tactic (making staff miserable). Then it started changing addresses (3 times in just over a month). It won’t say why, but that might be a legal defence strategy (making lawsuits against the company more cumbersome). Then it picked on yours truly for calling a liar “liar”. As if the lying is absolutely acceptable and the problem is opposition to lies. Narrative inversion is also misused in this way in politics, e.g. misframing those who expose war crimes as some sort of unethical “foreign agents” and reckless, disloyal voices. So what we now deal with is a bunch of rascals trying to judge or even crucify their exposers, critics, and so on. This happened in Debian too, as yesterday’s story from Daniel Pocock explains. For those who didn’t see it, the gist as per this new story is that Debian ‘family’ (people who never coded anything in their entire life!) started intimidating and shaming people who say the truth — all in the name of protecting some brand or reputation!

To be clear, when I used the word “liar” I did not name a person and did not even name my employer, only judged its behaviour in a two-person conversation, berating unethical behaviour that had long been observed and pointed out internally (to no avail).

Sirius must be doing the same thing to other people, but it threatens people not to talk to each other (a divide-and-rule tactic) whilst inducing some sense of baseless regret, having done nothing wrong yet led to a conflict over someone’s ego, covering up likely unlawful behaviour.

The sad reality is that Sirius is now governed by a so-called ‘boss’ that sends nasty letters (days in the making but still with the wrong names in them; maybe attention and concentration issues), pretending to be all-knowing while lying to people, lying about people, and so on. Despite going by the title “CEO”, he is basically ‘bossing’ maybe a handful of people and some of them mock his lack of technical skills (even right to his face!). He has been trying to create a culture of lying, cultivating deceit and fostering cover-up instead of honesty, compelling colleagues to compromise their integrity (visibly against their will; they did complain, as we showed in prior parts).

The sad thing is that unethical people like these never belonged in the company in the first place! But in terms of recruitment the company has been racing to the bottom — to the point of hiring based on family connections and in spite of zero relevant skills. For management, the company started recruiting based on accents and style rather than knowledge and substance.

What was envisioned? That technical staff (geeks) would end up idolising or looking up to (or using as a role model) nothing short of a “bullshit artist”, who is conning clients as a short-term strategy of client retention? This is hardly a good investment, as it is tarnishing the names of workers, not just the company. I’ve wanted to leave for years, seeing the company was becoming a stain on my name (the company still uses my name in its Web site!).

Companies where ambition is tied to ruthlessness (towards clients and staff, burning people to get “ahead”) are likely to accept all sorts of truly unethical clients. This is what has happened in recent years. To make matters worse, the company was living a lie, naming bogus days for future meetings, saying in vain they’d advertise and hire in the US (later, upon inquiry, they admitted they hadn’t done that at all), and pretending to be vastly bigger or “growing” (there was no actual growth).

Finally, seeing that staff was resisting the lies, management decided to embark on a witch-hunt, hinged on a low-grade fishing expedition or muck-raking adventure. I refused to participate in kangaroo courts (not in compliance with the most basic international laws anyway) and resigned at the start of this month. Below is a portion of the report I sent days prior to the resignation.

The allegations is that Roy and Rianne do not speak to the management directly, as they wish to instead communicate through a legal representative. Roy has explained to managers that they are not an appropriate tribunal (clearly HR hasn’t been properly consulted about this):

Under the European Convention on Human Rights Article 6 (England is in the European Court of Human Rights) I am entitled to have a representative and access an objective tribunal. You will hear from my lawyer soon.

So basically they improvise and make it up as they go along, thinking they’re a sheriff or something — very unprofessional.

Why does this happen? It’s plausible that tribalism and self-service are the motivation.

The current CEO seems to have zero experience with Open Source, and some workers lack even a relevant degree in a computing-related field (it’s all about nepotism — harsh to hear, but true; it wasn’t like this when Roy joined the company).

As noted before, the company is misrepresenting itself to the public. It’s portrayed as a cross-Atlantic enterprise and the web site is faking the size of the company, which is like 1 or at most 2 people in the US and only half a dozen in the UK. They mislead existing and maybe future clients.

Other colleagues have long spoken about these issues (also past colleagues), a reputation harm to the company, but they have not been subjected to stalking or singling out. Why? Probably because they left the company early enough.

The company is basically looking for a finger-pointing opportunity, it tries to cover this up, and may conveniently cheery-pick Roy’s criticisms, which don’t name people or companies.

To make matters worse, the managers accuse Roy of “defamation” even though everything said by Roy is easily provably, just not very convenient. Conversely, the company itself lies routinely; for instance, the managers repeatedly said they would hire in the US; in a later meeting they admitted this was not done.

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