Subject: Re: Mass. Bill to Block OpenDocument Format Standard
From: DV Henkel-Wallace <gumby@henkel-wallace.org>
Date: Tue, 8 Nov 2005 16:34:59 -0800

On Nov 8, 2005, at 10:25 , Anderson, Kelly wrote:

> It's all about being "good enough"...
>
> sigh.
>

Exactly.  success is being just "good enough" (at the lowest cost to  
you) for enough people -- a local optimum which in this case is a  
minimum.  If you can make it better for less (e.g. Toyota's Deming- 
inspired quality effort in the 70s and 80s) so much the better.

And you should be glad.  Products that are overpolished or  
overspecified can fail to make it to market for a variety of  
reasons.  Likewise few of us want to spend money for features we  
never use (a clock in my iPod?  Why?).

If that sounds too abstract, here are a couple of examples.  I like  
to buy organic fruit, and put up with the frequent blemishes.  In  
Japan I once enjoyed a $50 bunch of grapes.  They tasted fantastic,  
and each was perfect.  But would I want to pay for that?

Likewise, the philosophy of "release early, release often" encourages  
people to get features out to end users as quickly as possible.   
Likewise the proprietary world releases betas so that those who want  
the advantage of early access can get it at a discount (less  
reliability) instead of full price (for more reliability).  These  
tradeoffs are valuable.

Free software is no exception to this rule.  Do you prefer using the  
Xanadu system or the WWW?

>> From: DV Henkel-Wallace [mailto:gumby@henkel-wallace.org]
>> Sent: Tuesday, November 08, 2005 5:38 AM
>>
>> PS: BTW don't pooh-pooh training costs.  Again, in the mail case, I
>> saw Exchange beat out (the then) Netscape mail server here in Palo
>> Alto's city government even though, for Palo Alto's 1200 workers, it
>> was $50K more.  Why?  Training.  Users would see new icons and freak
>> out -- they'd want to be sent to training class and to buy books at
>> Stacy's on "how to use Netscape Mail."  So clunkiness or whatever
>> _just don't matter to most people_.