About

I'm Mike Pope. I live in the Seattle area. I've been a technical writer and editor for over 30 years. I'm interested in software, language, music, movies, books, motorcycles, travel, and ... well, lots of stuff.

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When the rhythm isn't steady, no one will start to dance. No one will start to smile. No one will start to cheer. Because that's your task when you play in front of people, or when you play for yourself ... you don't smile to yourself if the groove isn't there as you like it to be.

Siggi Mertens



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Blog Statistics

Dates
First entry - 6/27/2003
Most recent entry - 9/24/2018

Totals
Posts - 2523
Comments - 2582
Hits - 2,082,109

Averages
Entries/day - 0.45
Comments/entry - 1.02
Hits/day - 374

Updated every 30 minutes. Last: 7:51 AM Pacific


  09:25 AM

I get so distracted by things I hear in meetings that I sometimes wonder how I manage to get anything work-related out of them at all. (Perhaps my boss wonders that too, hmm.) Anyway, the other day someone said that we should put a work item on a "dogs not barking" list.

I pondered this while the other participants continued their conversation. I was pretty sure this was new to me. I thought of a possible meaning or two, but didn't feel confident that I had it.

Fortunately, the guy who'd uttered the phrase is friendly enough, so I popped into his office and just asked him outright. "Oh," he said, and kind of laughed. "It's a phrase I picked up around here from management."

He went on to explain that "dogs not barking" refers to looking out for what's not obvious. It's kind of the opposite of the squeaky wheel, was his (anti-?) analogy — in this context, a squeaky wheel is the customer who's complaining loudly about something they need. But what's out there that customers need but we're not hearing about?

His theory was that it derived from a situation where you'd expect dogs to be barking — at a burglar, say — but they're not. There are times, goes the theory, that you should be hearing dogs bark but you're not, and that means trouble.

Anyone else know this phrase?

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