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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Open Or Complete?

I read a lot of commenting from open source enthusiasts about the disadvantages of what is not “open,” which frequently gets into philosophical concepts.

I don’t derive much value from philosophical working. I work for successful completion. And I use open tools and other tools, often measuring one against the other.

There is a difference in completion between between “open” products and that other stuff, which I would like to define in this post.

For starters, I say the opposite of “open” is “complete.”

The old joke is, “A man is incomplete before marriage. Then he is finished.” Be careful what you wish for.

When I sit down to write, I start from a variety of templates, which I have developed to speed the writing process. Whether it is code, a web page, report, spreadsheet, brochure, presentation, or post, I have specific templates. And when I start something new, the first thing I do is reason out my template. I write against time, so working freehand is not an option.

Following the smartphone “open vs Apple” discussion, the beauty of the Apple product is that it executes almost everything it is designed to do with wonderful ease. If you want it to do something it is not designed to do, well, you’re out of luck. Ask the guys who would like to Skype on their iPhones. So as long as you stay within the parameters handed to you by the designers, that is the phone for you.

If, you have some strong feelings about what you want your phone to do for you, with different software or connected to different hardware, then open software is easier to bend to your will. Apps are increasingly easier to write, and I know people who are running custom apps they built for themselves, to shave some time off here, alerting them to something there, watching their television using their phone as their remote.

The question is, “How involved do you want to get?”

The first question when writing your first app is, “What do I want it to do?” That gets easier by the fifth app.

Over time, leading thinkers get more involved in improving their experience with their tools, shaving off some time here, automating a process there.

To me, that is the purpose of “open.” Getting leverage performance with minimum understanding is the purpose of “complete.”

You pays your money and you takes your choice.

SalesLabs next Rainmaker, (Number 8!) is Google + Your Personal Website, Fast, Free, and Findable! the first 300 seconds of the Capital Technology Management Hub, at 6 pm, Tuesday, October 11th. The headliner is Overcoming Mobile Challenges in the Federal Government - Sponsored by TeqCorner, featuring Ferhan Hamid, CEO and Vikrant Binjrajka, CTO of INADEV.

1 comment:

Unknown said...


Gamers get a new game and work really hard to understand how to run up points & play the game. Once they know how to move through the game board, it's all about maximum points.

There's an analogy here. The 'free spirits' start from a blank screen in the chosen application. Then it's trial and error to get the right format and navigation guides (like page numbers).

The content generation is roughly the same for the free spirit and for Dick (let's assume), but the time from beginning to 'click to send' is dramatically different between the two.

Investing in a format streamlines the process...even if it a multiple of two or three times what it takes the free spirit to do the finishing work - BUT - once done, it is a zero time element of the process.

Having a format always available offers a look & feel for the work, which adds to the persona of the writer when sharing the work (that's an article from Dick - I can tell from the logo at the top) and the little things are always there (how many times do you realize page numbers should have been part of the document? - after it's distributed).

Back to the gamer analogy - since the writer does not have to think about the format, all energy and focus is on content - like the gamer goes for evermore points in the game.

Thanks for pointing out the benefit of formatting.