Something occurred to me while updating my mother’s TomTom this afternoon. It wasn’t a big something but it was rather ominous in its own quiet way:

I simply expect any mainstream product’s software to be a badly built.

Any reassurances about its features are barefaced lies.

It’s not even arrogance – it’s more a malevolence through indifference. The software is good enough. It doesn’t perform that well but so what? The consumers might moan to the internet but as long as it’s not stupendously broken they’ll put up with it.

Similarly any time I see something in a “professional” tone I immediately feel that whatever is said needs to be taken with an ocean of salt. “A commitment to high standards” might as well be this:demotivational-posters-free-candy

Essentially companies are rarely hungry. They’re not trying to be the best at what they do. Apparently it just doesn’t make good business sense to sincerely work towards providing something that is better than any customer could expect. As long as they buy it and don’t moan too much, it’ll do.

As I’ve said before, I’m not a perfectionist, “good enough” will do due to the law of diminishing returns. “Good enough” means 95%, not 70%, so to speak. That extra 5% is going to come down to the end user’s personal quirks – getting it right is damn near impossible. On the other hand an extra 25% is going to make the whole thing seem great even if the end user can’t quite put their finger on why.

Of course, in reality it’s not that simple but surely we should aim to be somewhere where basic professionalism doesn’t automatically convey a sense of thinly-veiled disdain?

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