For years now an issue has been bothering me every time I make a cup of coffee…

As a coffee drinker, my routine has been to first add the sugar and creamer to my cup before pouring in the coffee so I can control the amount of sugar and creamer added, but everyone I know does this the other way around. Besides the time saved by pouring and stirring simultaneously, I see more cons than pros to the other approach such as the clumps of creamer that form at the top due to the hot coffee vapor or over pouring the sugar.

Since I’ve been a software developer, I’ve encounter many little problems that seem so simple yet are so complicated to fix. Building an enterprise application is as simple as creating a deck of playing cards to play every card game possible, but still someone must manage the little decisions at every level.

As a production manager, you contemplate whether we should produce a deck of cards from only 8s to Aces so that we can start targeting Pinochle players, or do we create a whole deck of 52 cards before going into production? It is nice to generate sales to support existing production, but then there’s a risk with the first and second half of the decks being off color.

As a salesperson, it is easier to sell a deck of cards to someone who has never played a single card game.  How about trying to sell to a group of friends who only play chess, dominos or monopoly? Who in the group should we target first so that they can convince the rest of the group to come on board?

As a trainer, how do we teach our card owners how to play a game in a short period of time? Do we train them only on the game they like to play with emphasis on making them better players or teach them the basics of every game available and let them choose what and how to play later?

As technical support, there are a great deal more decisions to be made, but at least they are more exciting. If a client asks for more strategies of a specific game, what’s the most effective or efficient way to explain to them? Through the phone, Friday poker night over some beers, or taking them to the casinos?

Maybe it’s time to apply the first principle of programming: K.I.S.S. (AKA, Keep it simple, stupid).
At the start of production, do not use any fancy colors; keep it simple until the final deck is ready. Try to introduce the idea of an automatic shuffler when making a sale. Lessen the expenditure for training time so the players can feel more comfortable in taking their time to learn. And instead of technical support, think more of customer success so that they are winning at every game played.

As long as we stick with a well-defined mission and concrete core values, our envisioned future will come sooner than expected.

P.S.: After all, my cup of coffee isn’t perfect.  Upon finish, I usually find deposits of undissolved creamer at the bottom. Should I stir and scrape next time? Nah, too much work.

Tai L. is a Software Engineer who loves Brazilian steak, Napa Cabernet, and Argentina Tango.

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