Good, Better, Worst


I spent a good portion of the weekend trying to work with several computer programs that defied both logic and me. There’s a reason for that.

When I was young, automobile companies would design and produce a very popular model, such as the Ford Thunderbird. It started out as a two seater sports car, similar to European sportsters. The hardtop version, in the earlier years, had two small round windows that had no other purpose than to look cool.

Every year, they “improved” it by making it larger, adding rear seats, and making it generally uncool. This practice has been continually refined since then so that good products are improved until they fail. It’s the product equipment of The Peter Principle–the cream rises until it sours.

One explanation is that the enemy of good is better. Actually the Perotto Principle applies; it takes 20 percent of the resources to achieve 80 percent results. It then takes 80 percent of the resources to achieve the final 20 percent.

Such was the case with these programs. The original versions did a few things very well. The current, new and improved versions do many things, but only those who wrote the computer code understand how to make them work.

There’s nothing wrong with “good enough.” If it gets the job done, that’s all that is required; it doesn’t need chrome fender dents and a two-way sneeze-through wind guard.*


*Ralph Spoilsport Motors–Firesign Theatr

One response to “Good, Better, Worst

  1. Hey Steve. Like always your post is relevant, timely and thought-provoking. All around us there’s incompetence, and often it’s in positions of those who lead us (the Peter Principle). And—like you say—20% of our brains, energy and efforts produce 80% of our rewards, results and fulfillment. Yet, it seems there are those who keep messing with “good enough” or what we consider “cool” to make things better than cool—“hot.”

    Well of course my good ol’ Mexican dad knew nothing of computers, but a lot about people and resources. And way back in the 60s—when I was kid—he spoke to me about a variation he had on the 80/20 Rule (the Perotto Principle). He said the “unfulfilled” say it means 20% of our resources brings us 80% of our gain. The “fulfilled” say we use only 20% of the things we have, like the clothes in our closet…80% we don’t.

    And with regard to making things “better,” it’s all about people and the mind of people. Dad said, if we want it bad, we get it bad. The badder we want it, the badder we get it.

    In other words, it’s okay to like and enjoy being “cool.”

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