This Guest paper originated from a series of Emails on the ubiquitous Internet. It was prompted by differing views on the reaction of customers to new products. While the author does not profess to be a software project manager, her insights in managing her own work as projects are particularly valuable.
Copyright K. Jones© 2005.
Published here May 2005.

Editor's Preamble | Kate Jones' Viewpoint
On Salability | On Designs and Development
On Government and Private Enterprise | On the Human Response

On Designs and Development

Designs and developments seldom start from scratch. The construction DNA always pre-exists, since the combinatorics of cells took off with the amoeba. We use templates and boilerplate, recycles and tweakings of proven methods. Nature recycles copiously, even while playing with mutations. So the size of railroad tracks is a relic of two Roman horses' widths pulling a chariot. And the arbitrary QWERTY keyboard persists because unlearning would be untenable. Political ideas about ownership seesaw back and forth between individual property rights and redistribution of wealth. The memes are tenacious.

It's always easier to build on an existing armature. The men who take "first steps down new roads"[3] are too frequently scorned, rejected, persecuted, destroyed. Only later, when the world has a chance to catch up, are they hailed as "visionaries". Sellers are forever looking for those "first adapters" as the front line of breaking through barriers and rejection syndromes that are the cultural immune system kicking in.

Evolution is how nature works. It would be odd if human development, ideas, designs, did not follow the same meta-template. But there is in nature also a success-vs.-failure algorithm, and failures (by definition those that didn't make the cut, that didn't win in the big roulette of survival) are eliminated with no regrets. If the cost is greater than the gain, it is dropped out of the matrix.

On Salability  On Salability

3. From Howard Roark's courtroom speech in The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
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