Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The Difference between 1941 and 2013

In 1941, the United States was suddenly, and deliberately attacked....provoked into a war beyond anything that they could have imagined.  Over the course of the next one-hundred days....a group of men sat down and drew up requirements.  These were simple requirements, with a clear understanding of what was to be delivered.

Tanks, battleships, cruisers, jeeps, rifles, winter clothing, battle rations, bullets, mortars, bazookas, canteens, web-belts, first-aid kits, and a million other items were all included in this requirement list.

Then the experts sat down and delivered.  Tanks had to crank up, and fire.  Battle rations had to be edible.  Bullets had to work when needed.  Submarines had to sustain life, and deliver torpedoes as necessary.  B-17s had to fly into a hornets nest, sustain the crew onboard, and recover back at the base.

It worked.

So here in 2013, we settled upon some software architect design, paid some dimwits to build it, counted the days and weeks down, and figured it'd all work OK in the end.

It didn't work.

Across the nation, a significant number of people needed it to work, and expected it to be simple.  A guy with a simple high school education.....ought to be able to log-on.....perform the actions....find a number of health insurance packages....price them.....grasp that nothing is really free or cheap, and come to this decision.  He probably won't be happy or ever satisfied, but it was a simple requirement that was achievable.

The difference between 1941 and 2013?  Three simple things.  First, we aren't capable of making anything simple anymore.  Happy meals must have warnings on the package, with toys approved by some authority, and meet some kind of guidelines.  Simplicity in design has dried up, evaporated, and disappeared.

Second, we forgot the concept of limiting the initial product to a limited design and architecture, and building onto the item in version two, version three, and version four.

Third and final....we politicized something....that ought never be politicized.  The minute you turn religion, health care, business, entertainment, or sports into something political....it starts a trend of failure somewhere down the line.  No one is ever content ever again.  If we had politicized 1941 and the buildup to fight the Nazis.....we'd still be fighting them today....with guns that only fire one out of every three bullets delivered, or tanks that crap out after sixteen miles on the road.

There's something wrong here....but it's best that we just don't start thinking about comparing 1941 and 2013.  We might get a bit frustrated, angry, and negative.....and that just wouldn't help to fix a big mess.