[FoRK] Enterprise software development: Do we have an age problem?

Ken Ganshirt @ Yahoo ken_ganshirt at yahoo.ca
Mon May 24 17:22:39 PDT 2010

--- On Mon, 5/24/10, Luis Villa <luis at tieguy.org> wrote:

> On Mon, May 24, 2010 at 11:22 AM, Ken Ganshirt @ Yahoo <ken_ganshirt at yahoo.ca> wrote:
> > --- On Mon, 5/24/10, Luis Villa <luis at tieguy.org> wrote:
> >
> >> ... end-user/non-enterprise software is the way to go.
> >>
> >
> > Why is it "the way to go" versus enterprise software development? (Genuinely interested ... it's a pretty emphatic statement.)

> Off the top of my head, from my experience in enterprise development
> and sales: (there are of course exceptions to all of these, but they
> are exceptions.)
> 1) popularity factor- in the consumer space, your friends and family
> might actually use your software; you're lucky in the enterprise space
> if they've heard of you, much less use it.
> 2) cutting edge factor: enterprise rarely is willing to pay for
> actually pathbreaking stuff; they want tried and true, hopefully tried
> by someone else. So if you want to work with the most interesting,
> cutting-edge development environment, enterprise is unlikely to be
> satisfactory.
> 3) unpleasant customer factor- if your most unpleasant/least clueful
> customer is paying you $29.99 (or $0.99 in app store, or $0 in web
> space) you can walk away from them. If your most unpleasant/least
> clueful customer is paying you hundreds of thousands or millions of
> dollars, you have to suck it up.

Good points. So they like notoriety, cherry-picking simple, or at least non-complex, apps and don't like to deal with people or problems or people's problems. Like to avoid the challenges of major complexity, the need for reliability and really serious problem-solving. The youngsters have no staying power.  

That about it?  ;-)

Seriously, I can understand wanting to avoid the thankless environment that a lot of internal IT shops are (I can't speak for enterprise software development companies .. no experience). Day-to-day maintenance can grind you down if there are no other distractions and serious rewards. But there is also an attraction to the challenge of creating, maintaining and enhancing hugely complex computer environments. Keeping them running under a variety of conditions -- troubleshooting in such complex environments is a real hoot if professional troubleshooting and firefighting are your thing -- and making changes without breaking things. Also supporting people in their attempts to use these environments to get real work done. The latter is especially rewarding for me.

For me, the biggest rewards in technology come not from the technology but from helping people get something out of it. There are so many ways to do that. You can get it right in the first place when developing (as jb loves to say, "The interface *is* the app."). You can bail them out when something breaks. Or you can help them figure out how to make good/better use of it when the developer didn't listen to jb and provided the usual totally dysfunctional UX. 

More opportunities for that in enterprise than elsewhere. Or, at least, larger concentrations of people who need help of all kinds. And loads of tangible feedback (smiles, thank-yous, etc) if you get out of your cube and get with the people.

But I'm an olde pharte so I've probably got a crazy twisted view of the universe and probably no longer completely trustworthy....  ;-)

        ...ken... <just got back from the driving range ... golf is so much better than IT of any kind>

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