What Problems Are You Spending Your Time Solving?

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One of the things I find interesting is the news pundits who ask the question “If a woman is elected president, what will her husband be called?” To me, the answer is completely obvious. If the wife of a president is a “First Lady,” then the husband of a president is the “First Gentleman”. Question answered, move on to discussing a real problem.

I just asked this question to a group, and none of them came up with “First Gentleman”. When I stated it, the responses were that it made sense, but… “It isn’t snazzy enough”, “It doesn’t fit in today’s catch-phrase world” and “We’ll probably invent a new term and change the term for the First Lady as well.” All this in spite of the fact that “First Lady” has worked just fine for over 200 years.

This is very analogous to some of the problems we have in software development today. We spend our time solving fake problems instead of real ones. We look for the snazzy, catch-phrase, new solution. So much time and effort is spent on finding the “best possible solution,” when with the current state of software, most users would be pleasantly surprised by a reliable, adequate solution.

Think about it next time you’re solving a problem—is it a real problem?

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