Why Is Software So Bad

Hardware Vs Software

40 years ago, Seth drove one of the worst cars. It’s seat, mileage and everything was bad. But now, Seth drives Toyota car for about the same amount of money. But the seat is comfortable, it’s safe and everything is better.

When Seth used to do gaming software, the main challenge was the hardware. And when Mac from Apple came, he got to use word processor and sheets. Now, after 40 years – there is word processor which does about the same things. And then there is Google sheets, which does less.

When you take out the network effect, the software hasn’t upgrading at a great pace. Why?

Buying Cycle

When you think about cars, there is a buying cycle every 4 years. But you don’t go and buy the software at that rate. You can keep the software of driving car same, you don’t complain. But you want the nice hardware upgrade when you buy car.

Software isn’t sold like hardware. Most of the time, it is sold directly to users. Hence, you are stuck with software you are used to.

The network effect means – software works better when you share it. And thus it snowballs into something that many people uses them. Hence, for the smartest people who make software – they don’t solve questions to make software better. Their main concern is – how to make sure you share the software.

And when you get software like Google docs or sheets for free, with net work effect – you don’t bother about many things it can’t do.

Software Is Complicated

It’s complicated for the user. The number of options keep increasing. They just dump it. And then it becomes complex – which isn’t alignment with users. Also there isn’t any turning off features, so you could get your own versions.

Also, you didn’t award the better software. When Keynote from Apple came, people flocked to it because it was amazing. Now, after giving thousands of presentation – Seth is frustrated. There are so many features they can add and make it better.

But they add useless features which are shiny so it gets shared. The software is getting clunky and not elegant nor better useful.

Around 2016, Mac computers started dropping WiFi network. And people complained about the bug. They tried complaining for years. Compare that with any hardware problem – year after year. You can imagine the hardware company to go down in sales. And thus you are expected to put up with software bugs.

Stealing

As software companies stopped caring about quality of experience, users started stealing the software. The second piece of software doesn’t cost much money. Digital cost has less margin problem. So, it doesn’t feel bad to steal software than to steal the car.

But software changes culture, the hardware and your expectations of future. How you consume a story, your behaviour on smartphone – all of that is controlled by software engineers. Who are in hurry to make profit, not to make something beautiful. Or how long you should spend your time on something.

Software means it is for you. And over time, you become the tool for the software. By becoming subscribers so you keep using it.

And you are the victim of it. If you stand up, award heroes – maybe you will find another series of designers and architect – who believe that software can be beautiful. And not some company to make money off you and not have best interest.

Questions

  • Are Gatekeepers Coming Back?

Almost all of the gatekeepers have been made irrelevant. Example, you can be on TV by approaching 5 important people. And now, you can put yourself on the network for everyone to see.

But soon, everyone tries to make monopoly. And so consolidation happens. The idea that you can make something and get paid for it will go down.

So if you are someone who wants to find their 1000 true fans, now is the time to dive in.

  • How Do You Create Which Is Shareable?

Share-ability is the one of the factor. Many times, you dumb the idea down to make it more shareable. And that’s not stick with people.

You should have the guts to put ideas in the world which sticks with them.

  • Why Is It Hard To Edit Your Own Work?

Fresh eyes often pick up the typos better than you. Also, you should do it because another perspective is better to understand the content.

Also, you have this innate desire to be right. So it is hard to self edit. So you can edit yourself when you change your innate desire to be better.