Posted September 18, 2013
The Mad Scientist’s Lair Construction Kit: A Software Developer's Guide to World Domination
Are you thinking what I'm thinking? If it's, "Software developers would make perfect mad scientists," then the answer is "Yes" and "We may both suffer from megalomania, but my delusion is greater than yours."
But if you weren't thinking that software developers would make perfect mad scientists, think again.
Most software developers I know are mild-mannered citizens who give others absolutely no reason to suspect they're manipulating the stock market to pay their SPECTRE membership fees. Developers also tend to be reasonably affluent, and as a U.S. News & World Report article tells it, software development is one of the better-paying jobs in the tech industry.
What with the ability to go unnoticed, a few extra dollars in your pocket, and your background in technology, obviously you have what it takes to be the next Bond villain.
Sadly, there's no one-stop shop for the on-the-go megalomaniac, so the future Doctor Doom has to do some advanced research. But since SmartBear excels at providing information that software developers need to better do their jobs, it stands to reason that it can give you all the information you need to rule the world.
But not if I beat you to it.
Every evil genius needs an evil lair, and privacy is as much a part of your operation as a suit with your name stitched into the pinstripes. But software developers with aspirations such as yourself are at a disadvantage when it comes to owning a private island for one important reason: You need power. That is, you need a steady supply of electricity to fuel your nightmare machine.
Sites such as Vladi Private Islands and PrivateIslandsOnline not only offer homes that preclude interference from nosy neighbors, but also are situated atop an abundant supply of eco-power. That's right. Eco-power. Because conquering the world and saving it are not mutually exclusive.
For example, a tropical island can offer 300+ days of sunshine for solar power, and a craggy Hebridean island can offer as much wind as the god Boreas does before you wrest his power from him.
Any supervillain worth their kryptonite knows that for true concealment you don't just need a secret lair. You need a lair within your lair. And for that, you need services of a company like Hidden Passageway, who will hide your special laboratory in unassuming places, such as behind bookshelves and under staircases.
Also, watch the tour of Richard Garriott's secret-passage-filled home, Brittania Manor, as well as his latest home in NYC, to see how it's done. (Note to self: May need to “deal” with Garriott.)
Hiding in a secret room can save you when the FBI/CIA/OSI/Avengers/Tin Tin turn up, plus it'll keep your minions guessing as to your whereabouts. Remember, you can't be ominously omnipresent if you're, you know, actually present.
Henchmen, Minions, and Expendables
Every super villain needs a supply of anonymous jump-suited and disposable minions to do their bidding. These men and women are a defensive strike against any interfering do-gooders and they make sure your organization is running smoothly, freeing you up for your important chess game with Evil Deep Blue.
A well-rounded stock of minions include:
- Henchmen (or as software developers might call them, "team leads"). These competent people are what you need to scale up from the cackling-in-the-basement phase of the solo supervillain to the head of a world-spanning entity of malign corporate intent with a hierarchy of command.
- Private security specialists who operate your command center. You do have a command center, don't you?
- Bodyguards. With the right people at your side, or in front of you to soak up bullet damage, there's no telling where you can go.
- Decorative servants. Dedicate at least one servant to fan you with palm fronds and another to peel your grapes for you.
- Ex-Swiss military. Because these are the people best qualified to ski down a mountain with a machine gun. (Your island doesn't have a mountain? Build one.)
Robot armies. They don't feel pity or remorse or fear, and they absolutely will not stop, ever, until some meddling hero enters their self-destruct code.
And you can build your very-own robot army thanks to some wonderful 3D printers and Daniel Wilson's handy guide. Or you can recruit a few of the roboticists on the rise, many of whom entered DARPA's Robotics Challenge.
If you aren't in a particular hurry, you can wait for a government to build a robot army and take it over. Oh look, South Korea has a few perfectly good robot sentries already.
You may want to consider this piece of (un)friendly advice: Don't program in a self-destruct code.
The Hounds (and Other Pets)
You know you're a successful mad scientist when you declare, "Release the hounds" and the hounds are actually released. But as you know, training the right dog is a time-consuming process. You may want to purchase one from a qualified trainer, such as Trikos or Harrison's K-9, but that could set you back up to $230,000. (That is, $230,000 before you change America's currency from dollars to quatloos.)
Why settle for a pliable pooch or a sedated housecat when you can get something more exotic… like an exotic pet. They may be hard to care for, can carry diseases transmittable to humans, and can grow sharp claws and fangs that cause your gardener to faint on sight. But nothing commands respect like a leashed tiger at your feet.
They can be hard to find, perhaps because ownership of exotic pets may not be legal wherever you set up your evil base of operations. But you can always rent one.
Alternatively, if you're more of the information technology style of supervillain, being able to unleash some dastardly supervirus may qualify as "hounds." (See also: Stuxnet.)
They got past your minions. They downed your bodyguards. They evaded the hounds, and dueled your henchmen. They defeated your robot army, even the laser sharks. It's time for… the speech.
Every aspiring supervillain should know the art of apparently revealing your master plan to the enemy agents at your doorstep while secretly buying time for your escape. This is also your big moment, your chance to shine, your elevator pitch to hell. Obviously, this would be a bad time to choke, or worse, to give a poor speech.
However, it would be far worse to reveal your real intent. And that's where a psychiatrist comes in.
Blabbing your schemes to the very secret agent who can foil them is a professional hazard, but an understandable one: After all, who better to share your laborious, time-consuming, evil plans with than someone who can truly appreciate them?
But if you ever want to unleash the weaponized, Kremlin-tracking dolphins that you spent months to train, you need to share the news with people who are bound by ethics to not reveal them. And after you achieve your grand plan, you can redefine the word "ethics" to suit your needs.
Your plan for world domination a little fuzzy on the logistics? There's a surfeit of great software for brainstorming ideas, and mad-science-wannabe sites such as United Nuclear can provide the building blocks for your schemes to better humanity. (They'll see. They'll all see.)
But even a solid plan isn't enough to succeed, as any number of failed businesses, start-ups, and Dr. Evil can testify — particularly if it's a stretch goal like changing the orbit of the Moon or (less ambitiously) world domination. Luckily, there's more than enough project management tips to go around.
And now you now have a "project management" bullet point on your resume, in case that whole "world domination" thing doesn't work out for you.