One of nice parts of my job is I that get invited to speak at events, and often I get invited to sit on the Experts Panel (no sniggering at the back please). Last week I had the pleasure of doing so at an event run by SBL/Softbox in London. And one of the questions that intrigued me was ‘What Product would the IA vendors invent if they had a magic wand’?
After giving this due consideration, and dismissing the ones that would have had me ejected from the venue, I arrived at two answers. The first was to be able to Bottle Hindsight. Swigging from this magical potion would enable IA professionals to remove CD-burning facilities from HMG-based temporary workers, deny Doctors access to USB ports and remove the ability for people to hit ‘Reply All’ when they actually just meant ‘Reply’.
Additionally, I would come up with some sort of spray for nullifying idiots. I don’t mean malicious and nefarious types as clearly the spray wouldn’t work on them. I mean the same people who burn records to CD, just ‘bung some info on the stick so I can work at home’ or who can’t read their screens properly.
Hang on, I thought, it’s the same product. And actually, the problem isn’t the technology. It’s the person. Software isn’t evil or stupid (largely), it’s just doing what it’s told. And then I came to the conclusion that actually the magic wand isn’t for product, it’s for people. I read somewhere once (and I can’t remember where) that software represents 30% of the project, the other 70% is people and process.
So I fudged the product answer, but secretly, I think I’d like to use the magic wand to bash over the head of normally intelligent people who just don’t think through the consequences of not paying attention to their data.
Final point, congratulations to Amy Roberts of SBL for running a great event :o)