It makes me wonder if a challenge that modern tech companies might face is that the air is too rarefied, and instead of coming up with genuinely useful things to make their existing offerings better, the result is more new widgets. New widgets are nice, they’re cool! But sometimes people just want to live with the old, comfortable thing that they enjoy … and pay for the right to continue to do so.
It might explain a lot why certain products get dropped. In the world of Linux, features sometimes get removed
from the kernel because there’s no maintainer. One has to wonder if things like this might happen a lot more often than we think, where decisions of overstretched management are leading to product decisions that seem to do more harm than good.
One has to wonder if some of the biggest turkey features in recent tech history—the Touch Bar comes to mind—were the result of well-paid people getting bored of just doing the same thing well and hoping that creating something a little different would make the formula more interesting.
Just think of all the software-as-a-service products you’ve used over the years, and how, sometimes, they’ve devolved over time in the name of new features you don’t even use. That was someone’s job—and they were incentivized to design that new feature.
Saying yes to every new idea that comes to mind is a terrible business strategy, yet it can be one of the few ways to stand out in a competitive work environment. We don’t reward the people or the teams that prevent the fires from occurring, out of a need for innovation at all costs.
We live in a world where successful plumbers and auto mechanics get no rewards for their success in ensuring something doesn’t break for a long period of time. Maybe the question has changed in the technology industry and we need something like that? Just spitballing.