Software that does nothing (useful)

"We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like."

Tyler Durden ("Fight Club")

I guess I'm getting old & getting old seems to be a bit dangerous for a passionate person with a strong sense of purpose (nobody's perfect ...). My patience & tolerance for tardiness wears off pretty quickly & I'm easily getting sick when confronted with nonsense & uselessness. That's why it gets harder & harder to bear the shape of current software development market as the majority of what gets produced & released these days does NOTHING (useful).

  • enterprise developers are in never-ending loop of half-maintenance, half-quasi-enhancement of legacy systems - not noticeable from the end-users' perspective at all
  • start-ups produce tons of internet messaging tools, to-do lists, selfie filters or other mobile store crap
  • even modern era unicorns focus on the most secure way to obtain more money & control over market - like customer analytics-powered content personalization (incl. advertisements)

In retrospect ...

Have you encountered a new piece of software that has improved something in your life recently? Anything that has caused a meaningful change in what you do / how you do? Truly saved you time or brought new capabilities?

Think about something you're using for longer than few months - like a software tool or on-line services (e-commerce, bank, etc.): what has improved within the years that have passed since you've started to use it? I mean - improved for real. New layout, smooth animation in the menu or additional search option doesn't really meet my definition of meaningful improvement.

And about you ...

And as a developer - when did you have a chance to create something like that for the last time? When did you feel the satisfaction of doing something good for your end-users? Have you ever met a happy user, thankful for the work you've done for him? Satisfied not with a project sign-off ("finally, we're done with this shit"), but with a materialized, breakthrough idea that was not available before and now made a difference.

I find it both funny & sad in the same time - we have all this causative power, unbelievable tools, unlimited hardware resources (in terms of computing power, storage, interaction & integration capabilities, etc.) & barely any limits, but in the end what we create is ...

  • new report template (no 416 ...) that will be used maybe twice & soon forgotten
  • new financial product (insurance policy type, investment type, etc.) - not perceptible for the old ones, but a good justification for a new marketing campaign ...
  • another ORM / IoC container, even more opinionated, "clean" & 0.4% more efficient in 86% of typical scenarios
  • new landing page layout that puts the advertisement placeholder in even more conspicuous place

Some of this stuff will be announced as an success, some will undoubtedly go viral, get downloaded on millions of mobile phones & earn craploads of cash, but ... will it make your users awesome?