I used to be the documentation manager for a medical device company. The owner
was rich and amazingly idiotic when it came to technology, yet he claimed he was
technically brilliant. He drove a $100,000 car and could barely work his email.
Because our devices were of our own design and had a number of features not
present on any other device, we were inventing various terms for components and
features of our systems as we went along. Because these terms would soon be
used in training materials and marketing pieces, it was important that we
standardize them to avoid inconsistency as we started creating training and
marketing materials. To that end, I created a glossary of terms relating to our
product and routed a first draft of that glossary to key people in the organization
so that we could begin the process of agreeing on these terms and their usage.
The owner of the company was incensed by this. Even though we were on a tight
development deadline, he called a meeting and demanded that more than a dozen
people attend to discuss this. (For him it was all about an audience and
grandstanding. He could never do anything one-on-one. He had to call a meeting
so that he could stand up in front of a room of people and appear to be a leader.)
When all of us were seated, he walked into the meeting room and declared to all of
us, "I received the email about this glossary and didn't even know what the word
glossary meant. I had to look it up. I'm still not really sure what a glossary is, but
I'm certain that it's something that a documentation person doesn't need to be
wasting his time with."