We live in a bit of a strange time, where we are in a hurry not to be in such a hurry. I mentioned in my previous posting that Mozilla is trying to push out versions of their browser while it is not that necessary at all (and nobody can keep up the pace with Google anyway), but it is also seen a lot in website developments and updates, games… we are in such a hurry in IT-land that we actually prefer working with a newer buggy version of something, than with a postponed but solid production. And to make matters worse, a lot of us like to immediately install beta software just to get to be the first to work with the new product. Yes, you know who you are. Don’t mention that you need it for compatibility testing, because most of us don’t… we just want to have it. And now.
This hurry actually is addictive. I want to see the new OS’s or software rather today than tomorrow. And if I have it today, I want it to be changed again tomorrow. This is weird though, because I always accuse clients for making that same mistake. If a production is delivered, don’t let your own idea of it get in the way. After two weeks the new is gone, and you see other things that look better in your opinion… resist the urge for constant change.
But there is this thing happening the last 15 years. Since the popularity of the internet really struck around ’95 and the constant access to new news was becoming a common thing, everything had to be instantaneous. With the news, and information, it is a solid thing. The moment it is produced, it can be distributed. But we demand it everywhere now. Because we always assume that newer is better… and we want to get better… NOW!
And being a production company, it makes it hard. There are only a couple of – for example – game producers who have the liberty to set their own speed and publishers are actually waiting instead of pushing. Blizzard is one, for example. Their Diablo III has been announced for about four years now, and still it has not been released. I don’t mind, if the game shows that in its quality. Bethesda Softworks takes almost 7 years to produce their next Elder Scrolls. And you know what? If it is almost as amazing as their previous installment Oblivion was, it is absolutely worth the wait. BioWare was able to release their highly anticipated (but also criticized) Dragon Age 2 in only one and a half year. Too soon? Personally, I think DA2 is an excellent game, but a leap of faith in the story-line. I like it a lot, but I know a lot of players did not. Were they too soon with releasing it?
Microsoft took it’s sweet time with Vista. As we all know, it was not welcomed with applause. I still think Vista was a good successor, but 7 is better. But Vista was condemned by the public. And within 3 years a whole new version was built; it was released in less time, but people liked it a lot better.
We want things to be done immediately. And we want it to be good. In the game market, there are so many productions, there is always something there to satisfy our hunger for more. But with things like Operating Systems, Applications, devices… there is only a handful of real players out there in the field. And I, for one, prefer that they do their work good, rather than fast. If they can do both… amazing! But if not, don’t push for the ‘fast’.
I own a photo studio together with my wife. I love shooting photography, and especially model photography. One of the reasons why is this instant satisfaction. There is hardly a production time. You plan the shoot, set up the studio, and you discuss certain plans with the model, test the lighting, point, shoot and do the post-production. And with the digital age full-blown going on in camera technology, development is done instantaneously.
But there is one difference with a photo, that software doesn’t have. By design is a photo a memory. It lives in the past from the moment it has been taken. A photo is a capture of something long gone. This is why we actually don’t perceive a photo as being old like software is. The older a photo gets, the more personal value it gains. The older software gets, the more problematic it will become.
Photos can show something how you want to remember it, or how you want things to be. Or they are there to be reminded how things actually got better. But a photo always shows something of the past. It never malfunctions, even if it is completely worn away over time. Now that is instant satisfaction for you.
On software and hardware, we might want to slow things down a little. Do something good instead of fast. Sure, in a fast economy with fast competition, you cannot slow things down as a production company. But maybe you should…