The Artima Developer Community
Sponsored Link

Weblogs Forum
The Muck That Slows You Down

21 replies on 2 pages. Most recent reply: Nov 7, 2006 1:03 AM by Curt Sampson

Welcome Guest
  Sign In

Go back to the topic listing  Back to Topic List Click to reply to this topic  Reply to this Topic Click to search messages in this forum  Search Forum Click for a threaded view of the topic  Threaded View   
Previous Topic   Next Topic
Flat View: This topic has 21 replies on 2 pages [ « | 1 2 ]
Rob Tyler

Posts: 1
Nickname: rorschach
Registered: Oct, 2006

Re: The Muck That Slows You Down Posted: Oct 3, 2006 2:59 PM
Reply to this message Reply
Advertisement
Anyone know where i can find the transcript of Bezo's speech?

Leo Lipelis

Posts: 111
Nickname: aeoo
Registered: Apr, 2006

Re: The Muck That Slows You Down Posted: Oct 4, 2006 6:40 PM
Reply to this message Reply
Garbage article. Sorry.

It's like saying that what differentiates one building from another is what's above the ground -- therefore, let's outsource the building of the foundation, since it's not important and it doesn't distinguish your building from that of your competitors.

I guess the logic is that since you care less about the foundation, you can let others do it for you, but since you care a lot more about what's above the ground, only you are good enough to do it "just right". That's nonsense.

In fact, while people are generally shallow and ignorant, and indeed ignore the foundation, the foundation is very important to the overall quality of the building. It's not just "very important". It's critical. If it works -- no one notices. If it doesn't work, the failure is catastrophic and largely irrecoverable.

This is a typical CEO myopia that is coupled with complete disregard for what people "in the trenches" do.

James Watson

Posts: 2024
Nickname: watson
Registered: Sep, 2005

Re: The Muck That Slows You Down Posted: Oct 5, 2006 10:33 AM
Reply to this message Reply
> I guess the logic is that since you care less about the
> foundation, you can let others do it for you, but since
> you care a lot more about what's above the ground, only
> you are good enough to do it "just right". That's
> nonsense.

To be fair that's not quite what he's arguing. What he's arguing is quite popular in management right now and not original in any way.

The idea is that your employees should focus on becoming experts in those things that differentiate your business and not on things that every business does because the outsourcing companies are focusing on doing what every business needs and therefore are better at it. I think this last part is not true and that most of the time you are indeed cutting quality by outsourcing, especially if you save money doing it. Remember ValuJet? Their high rate of accidents was at least in part attributed to an unusually high level of outsourcing, as I recall.

Here's another analogy. Let's say you buy Mr. Bezo's theory and realize that most of the things you are doing when you spend with your kids doesn't differentiate them from any other kids. So you outsource it and get a nanny to bathe and feed them and play with them. You focus on taking the kids on outings and teaching them to be the kind of person that doesn't spend much time with their kids. Good idea, right?

Erik Engbrecht

Posts: 210
Nickname: eengbrec
Registered: Apr, 2006

Re: The Muck That Slows You Down Posted: Oct 5, 2006 1:25 PM
Reply to this message Reply
> Garbage article. Sorry.
>
> It's like saying that what differentiates one building
> from another is what's above the ground -- therefore,
> let's outsource the building of the foundation, since it's
> not important and it doesn't distinguish your building
> from that of your competitors.
>
> I guess the logic is that since you care less about the
> foundation, you can let others do it for you, but since
> you care a lot more about what's above the ground, only
> you are good enough to do it "just right". That's
> nonsense.
>
> In fact, while people are generally shallow and ignorant,
> and indeed ignore the foundation, the foundation is very
> important to the overall quality of the building. It's
> not just "very important". It's critical. If it works --
> no one notices. If it doesn't work, the failure is
> catastrophic and largely irrecoverable.
>
> This is a typical CEO myopia that is coupled with complete
> disregard for what people "in the trenches" do.

I don't think that is Bezos' point.

"The thing about this muck is, you have to do it, unfortunately, at the highest quality level. Because if you don't do all of these things that have nothing to do with your business at superb quality levels, your idea will never succeed... "

He's absolutely correct, so correct that there is very little you can do about the problem - other than have your own, good people heavily involved in it. Which is what you want to avoid.

Vincent O'Sullivan

Posts: 724
Nickname: vincent
Registered: Nov, 2002

Re: The Muck That Slows You Down Posted: Oct 6, 2006 2:27 AM
Reply to this message Reply
> He's absolutely correct, so correct that there is very
> little you can do about the problem - other than have your
> own, good people heavily involved in it. Which is what
> you want to avoid.

Why do you want to avoid what you see as the only solution? Surely you need to embrace it and do it better than everyone else.

James Watson

Posts: 2024
Nickname: watson
Registered: Sep, 2005

Re: The Muck That Slows You Down Posted: Oct 6, 2006 9:02 AM
Reply to this message Reply
> > He's absolutely correct, so correct that there is very
> > little you can do about the problem - other than have
> your
> > own, good people heavily involved in it. Which is what
> > you want to avoid.
>
> Why do you want to avoid what you see as the only
> solution? Surely you need to embrace it and do it better
> than everyone else.

I could be wrong but I think that was meant to be ironic.

Curt Sampson

Posts: 21
Nickname: cjs
Registered: Mar, 2004

Re: The Muck That Slows You Down Posted: Nov 7, 2006 1:03 AM
Reply to this message Reply
I've frequently found that it's simpler and cheaper to implement something oneself than it is even to pull in a library to do the job, much less outsource the development of the module itself. Sure, I've got several different versions of the login code for several different web sites that I've done. On the other hand, each one is small, easy to understand and easy to maintain because it has only the particular features needed for that web site. And several of them, simple as they may be, implement particular features that would be a lot more work to add to a general-purpose user-handling module.

I am starting to pull out some framework pieces into separate, more general-purpose libraries, but I've found doing so to be quite expensive; the cost of extracting it, merging changes, testing across all of the various clients that use it, and so on and can be more expensive than just letting each client maintain its own copy of the code, especially if it's not such much a stand-alone library as something embedded deeply in the structure of the application.

Flat View: This topic has 21 replies on 2 pages [ « | 1  2 ]
Topic: The Muck That Slows You Down Previous Topic   Next Topic Topic: Love Constraints


Sponsored Links



Google
  Web Artima.com   

Copyright © 1996-2014 Artima, Inc. All Rights Reserved. - Privacy Policy - Terms of Use - Advertise with Us