Geeks: A Bright Future
Can this problem be fixed? Yes, of course. Years ago, when I was working on supercomputers, I spent quite a bit of time with senior engineers at the car companies. They freely admitted that they put out crappy products in the 70s and 80s, and the reason for this was a lack of detail engineering -- the guys and girls on the line couldn’t build a quality product because the engineers hadn’t done their jobs. And this was because the beancounters running the companies hadn’t a clue about how to really run a business -- they were penny wise and pound foolish. OK, penny foolish too.
Too many tech products suffer from the same mentality today: Get it to market quickly, quality be damned. We’ll make it up by charging a lot for support. That is, until some bold firm puts the emphasis back on quality, sells no product before its time, and schedules software updates that honestly fix bugs without creating more of them. And, by the way, product manuals that actually describe what the product does aren’t the answer -- no one has time to read them. Products need to educate the user while being used. We have the technology, and the winners will have the will. My guess, though, is that few firms will make the investment because the beancounters are still in control.
BTW: It might seem like I’m watching a lot of TV lately. Actually, I don’t. Just major news programs and Boston Legal. Oh, and The Simpsons and Family Guy. But that’s it. Mostly.
— Craig Mathias is Principal Analyst at the Farpoint Group , an advisory firm specializing in wireless communications and mobile computing. Special to Unstrung