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Tuesday, July 19

This week in the office we were in the middle of an important process. We were supposed to be making our product work really well in a real life situation, leading up to a demo to show how good it really is in that situation. The way we achieved this involved watching someone use the software and complain to us about what was hard. We'd then fix the biggest problems and try again. I quite liked this approach. It gave me chance to justify some fixes I'd been looking to make for a while and the turn around was really good. We'd meet every couple of hours and see real progress.

However, we have a problem in the company where I work. People are frightened to be authoritative. In addition, people tend to talk up the point they're making and maybe make a big deal of everything. This is down to years of people ignoring each other, and it's also down to a lack of taking responsibility for just getting something done. We're frightened of what might happen if we do something that's not perfect, yet can never possibly achieve perfection. Something that's 80% there is good enough as a starting point. It's frustrating.

I'm reminded of a time when a marketing person wanted to take a new approach with the software. We had a meeting, and I asked him what would it do. He started speaking in superlatives about how good it would be. I asked again what it would actually do. He kept going on about how it would turn things on their head and revolutionise stuff... again, I asked him what... would... it... do. I never got a straight answer. So, again, when we were trying to get to the point this week, we were finding waffle instead of straight answers. I used being obnoxious as a tool to cut through the crap. I am patient, but I know that we can't afford to wait around for this thing to finish itself, so I pushed things a bit. I may not be popular, indeed, some people may cite stories about me when they leave my employer, but I'm getting the job done. Anyone who doesn't like it can dislike it.

I had had a gig that night, but my diary was full enough without it, and it was only a local new-material night. So I gave my spot to the comedian who I'd gigged with the previous night and spent the night in. I played "Sketchmaster" online with my girlfriend. We cheated a bit, but it was still fun.


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