As much as I can understand your concerns about his proposals, what does your rudeness add to the…
Patrick Roelli
161

The tone comes from three things:

First, ideas proposed without at least a little prior research into (a) what has proposed / tried before or (b) what the reaction / results was is counterproductive. People who inject flawed solutions into a discussion of a serious problem create an obstacle to solving that problem by forcing people to spend time and energy fighting against it.

Branstorming doesn’t work; bad ideas need to be shot at. If the idea is bad enough, they shouldn’t be polite.

Hillary Clinton had an idea not long ago, too: “Let’s create foolproof encryption that no authoritarian government can break — but include a backdoor that US law enforcement can use.” Should we also be respectful to that idea?

Second, failure to apply basic risk management to a problem with enormous consequences is irresponsible. There are many problems where “let’s try this and see what happens” is a reasonable approach. If the cost of failure isn’t terribly high, it makes sense to do pilots or MVPs or whatever Agile-flavored mantra drives you.

When you are talking about changing the way we pass laws — and also how we vote — “move fast and break things” isn’t acceptable.

We have a rising number of people killed by drivers who were playing with their phones; what some people call “the Internet of Shit” is now a gigantic botnet open to any attacker who wants to leverage its plethora of insecure devices.

Both of these outcomes were easily foreseeable, but got shot down by the feeling that we shouldn’t try to apply Waterfall techniques to even the most minimal degree. Let’s see what happens and we’ll fix things as we need to.

As is now apparent, we’re not going to put any of those djinns back in their bottles.

Third, it’s arrogant to presume that you can solve a problem without understanding it. I know the piece wasn’t written in a tone that channeled Marc Andreessen or Paul Graham, but it still says “the solution has been lying around here all the time — nobody but me has spotted it until now.”

It’s one of the most annoying traits of The Valley — the belief that technology is always the solution. When you work as consultant — especially as a process analyst — you learn that the majority of problems are being caused by (a) people and the way they behave, (b) the processes in places (or the rules that created the existing system) and ( c) the technology in place (either antiquated or non-existent). Change one factor, and the other two will change, creating problems that you might or might not be able to anticipate — and almost certainly will need to be solved.

The Valley never gets that.

There are two reasons online grocery services always suck wind and die. The first is the failure to understand logistics (empty miles) — the only places the economics work are NYC and SF. The second is the inability to realize that people who don’t think like Rob Rhinehart always want to select their perishables. Nobody trusts Amazon to give them the very best cut of meat available in the warehouse, or the apples that don’t have brown spots. They know it will be “next item up” and won’t trust it. It’s why the only stuff that really works are diapers or canned goods.

What this proposal misunderstands about the political system is a lot. It needs to be called out, not complimented.

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