I don’t belong in tech
Saron Yitbarek

Let me first say that I really dislike (hate is such a strong word after all) the definition of “tech” that seems to be accepted these days. It’s short for technology and there is a lot more to technology than writing software.

The push to release crappy technology has been around for a long time, and is not exclusive to software by any means. In general the business and marketing folks have always complained that the engineers (the techies) want to make it perfect before releasing it. As an professional engineer myself I understand this parental pride in a product.

On the other hand, the purpose is to sell the product to the trusting customer, not to have a good time producing a perfect product. On the other, other hand, giving your hard won customer something that doesn’t work like they expected, imagined, hoped and dreamed is a fast track to bankruptcy. And so it is important that someone in the company truly understands what the customer wants, and can arbitrate the debate about when the product is truly suitable for release. As a customer myself, I know that getting something that meets or exceeds my expectations is always better than simply getting something first. (I believe Mr. Jobs knew that I and a few other customers feel this way- to use the over used example).

Good food often takes time to prepare after all. A protein shake might meet the minimum requirements, but the folks running the fine restaurant I am at know that their customer is looking for something else.

Maybe you are the person who should be finding out just what it is customer wants? A background in how to write software means you will be in a better position to communicate this to the techies.

As to “Fail fast, fail often”: I don’t believe the intent is to do your failing in front of the customer, or to use real customers as testers. Once again this would seem to be a good strategy to induce bankruptcy. The idea is to be bold and flesh out and test ideas, and see if they seem to be good ones. Better to test ideas quickly and rigorously to weed out the good ones (and not be afraid of failures) than to do nothing, or worse, let your customers find the flops.

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