Friday, June 27, 2008

The Computer Meeting

I'm convinced that a conversation similar to the following took place at one time in the computer business:

"Okay, the design looks functional enough. The darned thing is even attractive, in a rather sterile way, but aren't you making it too simple?"

"Ah yes. We understand your concern, but turn it around and check out the back."

"It's a mass of wires going every which way."

"Exactly."

"The average user won't have any real idea as to which wire should go where. It looks like a fire hazard."

"We know. At one point a team member suggested color-coding and simplication. We fired him. He went to work for a rogue outfit in California."

'This is fantastic. It will keep our customers frustrated, confused, and in awe of our expertise. But what if they click for Help?"

"That's the real beauty of the process. Here, read one of our explanations."

"Let's see. Jargon. Unexplained abbreviations. Numbers. They won't be able to sort this out. The damned thing is like another language!"

"Some of us wanted to use Esperanto but we felt that might be too insulting. Instead, we've adopted a vocabulary that the average person won't possess. Any steps that might be logical to an outsider have been jettisoned."

"I take it that the Joe or Jane on the street has not been consulted?"

"Ah, there you are wrong. We did bring in some outsiders for a focus group, but only so we could retain the most confusing segments. That saved us from slipping into clarity."

"That's fantastic. What's next?"

"We charge them for technical support."

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