If Santa Was a Software Engineer
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He wouldn’t visit malls and have kids sit on his lap to tell him what they wanted for Christmas, because that’s so inefficient and inexact. Instead, he’d write an app for the web and mobile devices where kids could enter specific product suggestions, along with links to online merchants. This data would be aggregated in the cloud to enable large, bulk purchases at steep discounts.
While his headquarters would remain in the North Pole, Santa would “work remotely” for most of the year from cafés and beaches across the globe, where the weather and coffee was less miserable.
He wouldn’t give the kids what they want, but would instead optimize for space. There would be a lot more gift cards and a lot fewer bikes.
He wouldn’t have to check the Naughty/Nice list twice because he’d have unit tests to verify that the results were correct.
He wouldn’t deliver all the gifts manually; he’d write a script to do it. He’d set up data centers throughout the world to distribute the load and parallelize delivery, synchronizing per time zone and maximizing throughput while minimizing latency.
He wouldn’t have reindeer pull his sleigh. He’d have a legion of quad copters doing the work, not because they’re better than flying reindeer, but just because they’re a lot cooler (and not as messy). Also, the GoPro videos are a lot more stabilized.
He wouldn’t have Rudolph guide his sleigh because he’d use night vision goggles with geo-location data overlays, because it would be awesome. Besides, Rudolph’s a prima donna, and there’s only room on the team for one of those.
He wouldn’t wear a red fur coat, because that’s cruel to whatever red animal it came from. He’d probably wear a t-shirt, maybe with an ironic slogan on it, like “Ho Hum.” But he’d need a warm coat for the ride, so he’d probably get a fleece shell from REI and a hipster beanie (with an ironic pom-pom).
Christmas would slip, but we’d have a Beta version by the end of February, or March at the very latest.