Ron has been blogging a lot about ROWE (Results Only Work Environment) lately and with good reason. It is an idea whose time has come. In fairness, I thought I would present the anti-ROWE or, at least, one element of it.

If you need this product, creepily named Spector 360, let me give you some advice — save your money ($2k) and just go out of business! If anyone can make a rational case for using this kind of software in a professional knowledge worker (or really any) environment, please attempt to educate me in the comments below.


  1. This software is rather disgusting, but ideal for low-trust Gulag-like labour camps, run by communist-minded petty dictators.

    What these dumb tyrants fail to realise is that it costs more to monitor their people than creating a ROWE culture with excited, well-paid, passionate and enthusiastic people.

    I grew up in “red slavery”, a.k.a. communism, so I’m familiar with the system. And we became experts at rigging the system, cooking time sheets, fiddling mileage reports and manipulating performance indicators.

    When management introduced a new tracking system to watch us ever more closely, we, the grunts, went to work to design and implement the appropriate counter measure system to keep management in the dark.

    So, I believe this software achieves precisely nothing. People figure it out and use it against management.

  2. Ron Baker says:


    Great comments. I’m reminded of that old refrain in the worker’s paradise of the USSR: If they pretend to pay us, we’ll pretend to work.

  3. Ed,

    I thought of a few great reasons for Spector 360. In fact, I’m very grateful of your bringing it to my attention!

    Here are my reasons:

    1. Our employees are probably a lot better than I am at finding the really good porn. So, all I need to do is install Spector 360 and, voila, the best porn is at my fingertips (no pun intended).

    2. I’d also be willing to wager that their personal lives are much more interesting than mine so I can also keep up with all that juicy gossip.

    3. Since all this great information is delivered to me automatically, I can still keep up with my ROWE results!

    All that for only $2K….where do I sign up?

  4. To quote Travis Dane: “300,000 pages of code. Or 60 minutes of triple-X rubber-and-leather bondage porno. Technology can be used for beauty, or debasement. And until you plug it in, you’ll just never know.”

    How you would use this program is up to you. Perhaps this program could accumulate a great collection and distribution of helpful research sites. Or help collect the collaboration of the PKWs to create marketing material and case studies. If you told everybody you were doing it and let everyone see the results and access the information, how much faster would the knowledge accelerate throughout your organization?

    Technology can be used for beauty, or debasement. A scalpel can be used to harm or heal. How you use it make it ROWE or Anit-ROWE.

  5. @Eric and John,

    Gold stars for you both! What John points out humorously, Eric nails right on – I stand corrected and humbled, Spector 360 could in fact be well worth the investment at a PKF if use properly.

    Thanks for pointing out my poor reasoning.

    Who said I do not change my mind?

  6. It sickens me to think that employers would basicaly “spy” on their employees. Before starting my practice, I worked in the finance department of a mid-sized corporation. We were one of the most efficient and productive departments one could imagine. The amount of productivity was actually quite overwhelming to think about. We had a large team of dedicated and motivated employees that worked have to make sure things got done – correctly and on time – everytime. The head of our department did not ride us or spy on us or even mind if we goofed off for a few minutes each day. The only thing she cared about was results – which we provided in droves.

    Now, this company has merged a couple of times and has grown. A few of the employees from when I was there remain. When you talk to them, the morale sucks. No one is happy. They can’t even get to half of the websites we used to be to…for example, YouTube and are banned. The company is spending so much effort de-motivating employees that the end result is poor performance.

    It should never be an issue for me since I have my own firm, but I will never work in an environment where the employer does not trust me to manage my time and to get my work done on schedule.

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