All the chapters in this book start and end with short dialogues between two IT-department colleagues at BigCo, Inc.—a successful multinational enterprise. The two players in these dialogues are Bob and Carol. Both are experienced and well-trained software professionals. Here is a bit of background on each of them and on their employer, BigCo, Inc. to help you get acquainted.
The Bayesian International Group of Companies (BigCo) is an organization with a long history of both prosperity and generosity. Founded in 1827 in Scotland, BigCo’s motto is “The principle end of the company is the happiness of its customers and employees.” Originally focused on demography and finance based on the work of Richard Price, by the 1900s BigCo was a manufacturer of important turn-of-the-century technologies including mobile x-ray machines and hydrophones by working with inventors Frederick Jones and Reginal Fessenden, respectively. BigCo was also one of the few non-US contractors attached to the Manhattan project, providing parts for the first nuclear reactors designed by Dr. Leona Wood.
During the postwar boom, BigCo opened offices in the United States and played an instrumental role in helping establish fields of study in the modern computer era, including predictive algorithms and robotics controls. Currently, BigCo products focus on “inverse probability” problems and how they can be used to help improve decisions and policy-making in both the private and public sectors.
Carol has been leading successful teams at BigCo for several years and, before that, spent over five years writing code for both desktop and web systems. She has degrees in computer science and information systems and is active in several high-profile open source communities. Carol is also an accomplished visual artist and is a member of a local art society. When she is not working on OSS projects or relaxing at home with her two cats, Carol attends area comics conventions where she sells her artwork and catches up with colleagues in the comics community.
Bob recently joined the company from a Silicon Valley startup merger. He’s built several successful web-based companies (one while still attending college) and tells people he has “the startup bug.” After selling his first company for a handsome profit, Bob took time off to complete his bachelor’s degree in computer science and then immediately went back to creating new startups. He spends what little spare time he has rock climbing and trail bike riding at nearby state parks and national forests. A couple of times a year, he heads off to the Rocky Mountains or the Cascades to do some serious Alpine-style climbing with friends.
Images and logo design by Dana Amundsen (@DanaAmundsen).
While BigCo is an imaginary company, all the people mentioned in its description (Price, Jones, Fessenden, and Woods) are real historical figures. If BigCo did exist, it is possible they would have been part of its history, too.