Rot13 twice

When you're working with potential customers of information security products you often come across people who really don't understand the technology. And there's nothing at all wrong with that at all. Information security is a fairly arcane area, and encryption is probably the most arcane part of this arcane field. But you meet people now and then who don't know what they don't know, and it can be tricky to work with people like that. A former coworker recently told me a story about he dealt with one of these people.

At one particular customer, the story went, there was a person who always had to ask questions about something. Many of these were about things that he know absolutely nothing about. Many of them were also totally irrelevant to the solution that was being discussed. In the middle of a presentation, this person suddenly became interested in how a particular bit of data was encrypted.

"We just use Rot13 twice," said the annoyed sales engineer.

"Oh, OK," said the potential customer.

Apparently some of the other people understood what this meant because they snickered silently behind their coworker's back. But the answer was apparently good enough, because the deal was eventually closed, showing that even Rot13 applied twice can sometimes be good enough.

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