users and johns

Does anyone out there know who was the origin of the insight that the software industry and the illegal drug trade both call their customers users? Brian Marick was the person I stole it from but as far as I know he doesn’t claim it.

Anyway, it’s an interesting insight. There are so many sweet terms we could use for those creatures who so consistently pay our salary and mortgages. My favorite is client. It has such a nice professional, mysterious ring to it. But perhaps we are in good company with the drug dealers. We get the user addicted to our functionality to the point that they overlook its downside and they come gagging for another fix (uh, version, don’t forget to plug the rush-hole!).

I suppose we should be pleased that it stopped with ‘user’. I, for one, would quit this industry if we start calling them ‘johns’. Being associated with the drug dealers is one thing, but pimps? That’s where I draw the line.