Starting on the west coast, he searches north to south
and south to north slowly moving east. He inspects all
gray animals keeping the first one that weighs the same
as a known adult elephant plus or minus 500 pounds.
Starting in the center he moves in an elliptical
spiral (with major axis oriented north to south) removing
all non-elephants and keeping whatever is left.
They will attempt to prove the existence of at least
one unique elephant before proceeding to step 1 as a
Professors of Mathematicians
Will prove the existence of at least one unique
elephant and then leave the detection and capture of an
actual elephant as an exercise for their graduate
First he notes that there are two kinds of elephants
(African and Indian) and requests more detailed
specifications as to which elephant is desired to be
captured. Then he searches east to west and west to east
starting from the southern tip and moving north. He stops
only when encountering and capturing an animal whose
description matches the American Zoological Society's
classification of the type of elephant he is seeking.
Experienced Computer Scientist:
Same as inexperienced computer scientist, except that
he places a known elephant in Cairo to guarantee that the
Assembly Language Programmers
They prefer to execute Algorithm A on their hands and
Database Administrators do not need to go out and
capture elephants when they can retrieve them simply with
an ad hoc query:
SELECT * FROM AFRICAN_CRITTERS
WHERE CRITTER_TYPE = 'TERRESTRIAL'
AND SIZE = 'LARGE'
AND COLOR = 'GRAY'
AND TRUNK = 'YES'
AND ODOR IS NOT NULL;
Engineers hunt elephants by going to Africa, catching
gray animals at random, and stopping when any one of them
weighs within plus or minus 15 percent of any previously
Systems Integration Engineers
They are not so concerned with hunting elephants as
with creating a seamless interface between the elephants
and their environment.
Economists don't hunt elephants, but they believe that
if elephants are paid enough, they will hunt themselves.
They hunt the first animal they see N times and call
it an elephant.
Don't hunt elephants, and many have never hunted
anything at all, but they can be hired by the hour to
advise those people who do.
Operations Research Consultants
They can also measure the correlation of hat size and
bullet color to the efficiency of elephant-hunting
strategies, if someone else will only identify the
Politicians don't hunt elephants, but they will share
the elephants you catch with the people who voted for
They don't hunt elephants, but they do follow the
herds around arguing about who owns the droppings.
Software Lawyers will claim that they own an entire
herd based on the look and feel of one dropping.
Vice Presidents of Engineering, Research and Development
They try hard to hunt elephants, but their staffs are
designed to prevent it. When the vice president does get
to hunt elephants, the staff will try to ensure that all
possible elephants are completely prehunted before the
vice president sees them. If the vice president does see
a non-pre-hunted elephant, (in other words, a live one)
the staff will (1) compliment the vice president's keen
eyesight and (2) enlarge itself to prevent any
Senior Managers set broad elephant-hunting policy
based on the assumption that elephants are just like
field mice, but with deeper voices.
Quality Assurance Inspectors
They ignore the elephants and look for mistakes the
other hunters made when they were packing the jeep.
Sales People don't hunt elephants but spend their time
selling elephants they haven't caught, for delivery two
days before the season opens.
Software Sales People
Software Sales People ship the first thing they catch
and write up an invoice for an elephant.
Hardware Sales People
Hardware Sales People catch rabbits, paint them gray,
and sell them as desktop elephants.