Conquent: Without Limits
Conquent: Without Limits
Michael Bissell's Blog

Random Change

2011-09-14 18:12:06
Shortcut URL: http://t.conquent.com/zD00

I've got pasta in the water and I can't find that weird spoon with the points sticking out of it that lets me make individual noodles as opposed to the doughy substance I call "clump-o-pasta" (a term I'd trademark, but I think Kraft beat me to it). Or the house is freezing and I can't find that one sweater I want -- it doesn't matter if I can find six other sweaters, I want the comfortable one that with the potato chip stains...

Those problems are usually my fault, but I usually blame Markie first. I'm just damn sure she moved my stuff. Or put it away in some weird place... that "cleaning up" thing women do just never made sense to me...

"I put it away."

"Where's away?"

"Off the counter."

"Okay, but where?"

"Oh, just look for it!"

Now, like I said, this is some kind of woman thing, but only because I'm a guy. I'm learning that everyone does this one way or another. It's easy to do when you want to use that space that someone else left cluttered, or just because you don't like the way it looks.

It's the problem with sharing stuff. It's not really my pointy pasta spoon, we both use it, and we both clean it and put it away. Just not always in the same place. And while it is my sweater, we both clean and put away laundry, too.

These little acts of random domestic torture are commonplace. But they aren't as commonplace when we go to, say Starbucks -- the straws are always on the counter with the lids. Lots of people are in and out of there, and there's this trained staff that knows consistency is what their product is all about, right down to the java jackets and those weird little plastic sticks that you shove in the drink hole of your cup...

Starbucks is huge. They've got over 130,000 employees and millions of dollars invested in training people how to refill a cream dispenser... and put it back on the counter. We're accustomed to these big organizations being consistent -- maybe consistently mediocre, but McDonalds and Starbucks can't do things by the seat of the pants -- they can't just put something in a weird place, there's just too much going on and too many people involved.

I expect the same service I get at Starbucks from my online services, an expectation that constantly eludes fulfillment. The Big Boys, it seems, are just small business. Facebook has around 2,000 employees, which may sound like a lot, but 2,000 people can't really track a billion people's sweaters and pasta spoons. When they move something causally, there's statistically no one available to help you find it.

I say statically because if Markie moves my stuff I have one whole, entire person I can ask. If Facebook moves my stuff I have 0.000002 person to ask. That's enough zeros after the decimal point that I don't even know what they call that number, and small enough that person doesn't exist.

Facebook is small enough that they don't spend millions on training. In fact, they want to hang onto their seat of the pants culture and do stuff that they want to do, not because some customer wants cream for their coffee.

Or code that works two days in a row...

Never mind the four hours of my life I lost fixing something they changed. I'm just going to stop at Starbucks and get a mocha on the way home. And put some whiskey in it... if I can find that bottle I had around here...






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