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“Move fast and make things” – up?

28 Dec

There’s a great picture on Fast Company of Facebook’s “Minister of Propaganda”:

Note the poster in the background. And the one on the floor to —-> that side.

One of the challenges about being in the “building complicated things” business is that nothing happens quickly. Making a brand new complicated thing takes months. Or years. (Even if you’re putting a man on the moon for the first time.) And it needs a whole host of people all pointed in the same direction for all of that time. Which means someone’s got to feed and clothe them, and that normally implies someone somewhere is going to be paying people. Before you know it, you’ve got a burn rate like a cliff and you’re headed straight into the ground. (Which is why some of the best hard SF has a project manager as the lead)

Software, in some sense, gets it easy. Entire schools of endeavour are devoted to ways to make people believe they experienced software. Then they just buy apps or OS X and eternal upgrades promising what they thought they bought. Damn their slick marketing promises and the joy their customers feel for that.

Persuading engineers that they can buy something that they have never seen before, and your own engineers don’t know they can make – that’s a sales role. J.R.Bob Dobbs is my key text on this – he is apparently responsible for a large part of the US and USSR space programmes after being off-loaded with ten billion tons of ¬†fuming nitric from a dodgy mil-surp deal from Peenemunde.

I’m looking forward to the future promise of 3d printing as changing engineering. CNC machining had the same sales pitch, and if we’re lucky we’ll see the next generation of engineering promise in another 50 years.

Now, back to trying to make atoms and bits cooperate en masse.

[Unless this was all the difference between generating something new, real, complicated that acted in the world – and just making pixels dance on peoples screens …]