The Idea Dude


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Eclectic thoughts

I tempted fate in the last blog and lost. Investing in myself wasn't what happened in the this week. In fact, it turned out exactly the opposite leading to probably the longest hiatus on this blog since its inception. Maybe I should talk about poverty and failure this time. I should probably try out some of the speech to text to blog services that are starting to emerge. We live in a frenetic society at constant breakneck speed. Regardless, here is a potpourri of thoughts there were collected the last couple of days but never committed to blog...

Firstly, a rant. Saw another article that talked about reaching consensus is the quickest way to get things done. Duh! I won't even put the link in the fear someone may actually go and read it. As a altruism, I don't disagree. What is missed is the fact that it may not be the fastest way to get things done everytime. Seeking consensus has the danger of trying to please everyone all the time. Not only does it create monumental stress for the person seeking consensus, the time it takes to reach consensus may be so excessive it leads to paralysis. People don't necessary like making decisions, especially big ones, but everyone wants to be consulted. Consultation is not consensus, it is about involvement. Consultation is smart because it is about gathering as much input and ideas from as many sources as possible. Consensus actually stops people from taking bold steps and removes the concept of personal responsibility, i.e. do the safe thing and if that fails at least you're not the only one to blame. The buck stops here!

On to another life observation, making decisions about software is not much different from making decisions about a house. You can build from scratch...takes a very long time, probably run over budget but you get what want, the way you want it. You can buy exactly what you want...very expensive, but you can move in pretty fast with very little changes and you see what you get. Then there is the middle option, buy something that is 'full of potential' at an affordable price and then spend your money, time and sweat renovating.

Working with open source the last couple of weeks has been the renovation option for us. Absolutely lots of potential, dirt cheap (read free) and we've already moved in. But that's when the 80/20 rule kicks in. It doesn't quite do what we want and there is invariably the structural pillar that you want to take out but can't. Not to mention getting rid of the excess baggage that you don't really need. We now spend 80% of the time customizing the last 20% which includes learning about someone else's architecture(s) (plural, thanks to community contributions) and working with complex logic that was conceived in a different place by a different mind. There's no free lunch. Nevertheless, the lesson learnt is that it will allow us to test the business model within months of conception rather than raise a couple million dollars and build a moderate size software team.

Coming from the other side of the enterprise fence, I wake up every morning feeling guilty that I'm breaking every business and technology rule in the book. I feel like I'm going to work with a hatchet instead of a scalpel. Pretty soon, I'm sure I'll go unshaven, grow my hair and learn a foreign language. This is the wild west...I think I know why people gave up all their possessions to be smacks of illogical recklessness but to those participating in the adventure, it is undescribable exhileration.

Now that I've blogged, I do feel better...almost as good as the quad expresso to jumpstart the day...


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