Computer programmers hunt elephants by exercising Algorithm A:
1. Go to Africa.
2. Start at the Cape of Good Hope.
3. Work northward in an orderly manner, traversing the continent alternately east and west.
4. During each traverse pass,
a. Catch each animal seen.
b. Compare each animal caught to a known elephant.
c. Stop when a match is detected.
Experienced computer programmers modify Algorithm A by placing a known elephant in Cairo to ensure that the algorithm will terminate.
Economists don't hunt elephants, but they believe that if elephants are paid
enough, they will hunt themselves.
Experienced economists never saw an elephant, but they try to hunt one by controlling the interest rates.
Statisticians hunt the first gray animal they see N times and call it an
Experienced statisticians add that there is a small probability that the animal they hunted is a mouse.
Lawyers can let hunting a single elephant drag out for several years.
Experienced lawyers can make it last even longer.
Consultants 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.
Experienced consultants 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 elephants.
Politicians don't hunt elephants, but they will share the elephants you catch
with the people who voted for them.
Experienced politicians take the elephant for themselves and blame the press.
Managers set broad elephant-hunting policy based on the assumption that
elephants are just like field mice, but with deeper voices.
Experienced managers keep in the project file the advise that claims that elephants are just like field mice.
Sales people don't hunt elephants but spend their time selling elephants they
haven't caught, for delivery two days before the season opens.
Experienced sales people ship the first thing they catch and write up an invoice for an elephant.
Computer sales people catch gray animals at random, and sell any one of them
weighs within plus or minus 15 percent of any previously observed elephant.
Experienced computer sales people catch gray rabbits, and sell them as desktop elephants.