Friday, January 23, 2009

Good enough

I was reading this article on Agile modeling. In there somewhere was this idea about good-enough documentation. Lovely concepts like "update only when it hurts". Generally not spending inordinate or incommensurate amounts of effort to fulfill the requirements of a project.

Perhaps it's my lazy side that found all of this very appealing. And that side can be pretty persuasive, so I really took it to heart. And got to wondering if there is a place for the concept in other things. I figured that there was. It's nice to have outstanding anything but it's not so bad necessarily to have good-enough something. Someone commented that the only reason Microsoft has free versions of .NET IDEs for download was because of SharpDevelop. And he does have a point. Visual Studio is brilliant, but if you don't have some cash to spare [I wonder how much Team Suite costs] for some reason, it's a pretty decent alternative. And so it is for a lot of open source projects. Innumerable actually. I use OpenOffice because I thought MS Office costs like a gazillion bob, rather than the 7K at the time. But it's good enough for me. Actually if someone comes up with something good enough for a much lower cost, a company has to rethink its strategy. I always wished there would be one shop where I can go and buy everything. Where there were things of decent quality at reasonable price. I don't need luxury or highest quality necessarily. As long as it doesn't fade entirely after two washes, and doesn't cost as much as someone's salary, I'll buy it. I'd be their best customer actually.

So not everyone can be brilliant, but there is a place for those that just move things along. Being the best or whatever often comes at a price. A lot of hard work and such. Sure, guys should be encouraged to be the best they can be and all that, but one eye has to be put on the price. And whether they are willing to pay it. Those spelling bee kids for instance look pretty miserable. Or like this guy in high school who was pretty brilliant then went on to pursue music as a career. What a waste I thought. This guy should have been putting his mind to use at NASA or other similar facility where people with brilliant minds put them to use. Singing was such a waste. But what do I know. Perhaps if he had such a view forced on him he would be at NASA. And perhaps he would have been miserable. Although to be fair most people are miserable wherever they are.

Still. I think there is a place for good-enough. That it need not be a bad thing. I'm not the flyest guy around but I'm willing to bet there would be one or two gals who would have me. And not in the last-man-on-earth, either you or a goat context. I'm pretty sure I'm good enough for someone. If guys serving life sentences for murder can get galfriends, there's hope for a guy. And that's all that I need. There needn't be anything wrong with a good-enough salary. And not applying yourself too much necessarily for a better one. Because utility must be measured against effort. There is no free lunch. So what if you aren't the best or the biggest or the brightest. Good enough is OK.

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