Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Software and the Downfall of Western Civilization

Software and the Downfall of Western Civilization

Some friends and I were discussing the other night: what will finally end up bringing about the downfall of western civilization?

One friend said it would be the Fascist Republicans, another said it would be the Liberal Democrats. I cleared my throat and spoke up loudly: "Poorly written software."

My friends chuckled and went on.

But I was serious!

Now, I've been mulling over the idea for some time. I think actually I should write a book on how poorly written software will bring about the downfall of western civilization. I'm the perfect person to write such a book: smack-dab in the middle of the software industry, seeing first-hand what it is like. I also happen to have been interviewing candidates for positions at our company lately: quite a few candidates, actually. The more people I interview, the more I realize how pervasive the problem really is. Companies are stretching themselves as hard as they can for the ultimate goal of ROI. ROI (Return on Investment) is such a pervasive buzz-word that lately it was even slapped back in my face recently when I asked my boss about the possibility of attending the World Conference on Quality and Improvement which will be in Seattle this year (next week, in fact). "Not unless there will be some ROI, Buddy."

I believe it is precisely this attitude that underscores my belief that poorly written software will ultimately bring about the collapse of Western Civilization. Everything in the Software Industry is centered on the concept of ROI, so much so, that quality takes a secondary place in the mentality of leadership. How can leaders of a software company question the role of software quality? What has lead up to this?

The First-To-Market syndrome is at the root of it all. Companies are stressed to be First-To-Market with every new product they offer. The idea is that if you can get it out there first, you will have a market advantage over your competition. Never mind whether or not it works. Of course, the former (getting it out there first) makes perfect sense. But what companies fail to realize, over and over again, is that it doesn't make any sense without the later (making it work right.) It is my opinion that consumers are fed up with faulty software and service patches. I, as a consumer, am certainly fed up with it.

But what can I do?

Probably nothing. The statistics show that consumers will buy the product that hits the market first. I guess I go against the tide. I always wait until something has hard the bugs worked out of it in the market before I make my purchase. Usually by then the price has also gone down.

So, it begs the question: will the real downfall of Western Civilization come because of 1) Faulty Software, 2) Greedy Companies, or 3) Stupid Consumers.

When you think about it, it's all the same either way you slice it.

Good Night!



Blogger matthewlando0879 said...

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3:08 PM  

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