February 28, 2007

I'm a Simpleton

I am no slow learner. I do not fear complexity. I do not fear change. I am not a luddite.

Yet when I use your software, I am a simpleton.

I used to want to toy around and play with new software. But now my patience is thin, I am not happy to be using a new application. I do not eagerly await the rewards of new paradigms. I do not wish to learn new ways of thinking about how I interact with browsers, phones or email.

I have enough complexity. I have enough things to learn. I have skills I use professionally that I know need honing, that need developing, that need training. At any time, I have many new things to learn and problems to solve and a finite amount of time and mental energy I can spend on it. I'm picky about the stuff I'm going to expend mental energy learning and committing to memory.

Or maybe I'm just lazy.

Either way, when I use your software, I am a simpleton.

I don't want to go through the tutorial, I won't read the documentation, I probably won't even read your error messages. Unless I have some powerful motivation to continue, I give up quickly and walk away.

This is the problem all product makers face. I don't know if it's worse now than it was in the past, but it really seems like we are in complexity and gadget overload like never before. Smart or not, computer idiot or savant, every new feature people learn incurs a mental load, and far fewer people are willing to meet that load than you think. I'm not the only simpleton out there.


February 25, 2007

OpenID Eye Opener

Six cool things you can build with OpenID


February 22, 2007

Damien has a new job!

Starting March 5, I will be working for MySQL!

The sound-bite version of what I'll be doing: Making MySQL more dependable.

I'll be working on the maintenance team. This job will mean I spend a lot of time finding and understanding bugs and weird behaviors and then either documenting or fixing them.

To some people this sounds like a crappy job, dealing with bugs full time. However, I've done similar work on Notes and Domino and actually enjoyed it immensely. Finding the cause of a bug in otherwise working code is a puzzle, and it's something my mind enjoys attacking. And I like taking a working software product and making it better.

Anyway I'm excited about this since I can have a direct, positive effect on a lot of people. I'm also a bit worried about announcing it too loudly for fear of being inundated with people's pet bugs and issues, both real and imagined. It's quite the popular database platform you know.