one man and a dog

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The expression became current in the late 1970s and early 1980s after a popular British technical news weekly ran a cartoon strip called "One Man and a Dog - the story of a small systems house", about a company doing business under the name "O.M.A.A.D." ("Organization Methods Analysis and Design"), the office being inhabited only by the proprietor and his dog.


one man and a dog

  1. (Britain) a small startup company, usually in a computer or technological field.
    • From The Guardian newspaper [1]
      I came to Winchester, first as a summer volunteer digger, working for £2 a week and my keep, so I think I'm quite well paid now. Then I became part of the rescue archaeology service, which was one man and a dog - I was the dog.
    • From Automation World [2]
      You may recall the old automation wisecrack, “The fully automated factory of the future employs only one man and a dog. The dog is there to make sure the man doesn’t touch anything, and the man is there to feed the dog.”
    • From the Wellcome Foundation [3]
      "I think people have underestimated just what needs to be done in terms of developing career structures, and also developing centres with a critical mass: you can’t train people when you’ve got one man and a dog."
    • From BusinessEye [4]
      "He started work as the proverbial one man and a dog operation..."