MUST READ: Nothing Works

Did you ever wonder why it’s impossible to find good service company, why most software sucks, or why networking vendors can get away with selling crap? If you did, and found no good answer (apart from Sturgeon’s Law), it’s time to read Why is it so hard to buy things that work well? by Dan Luu.

Totally off-topic: his web site uses almost no CSS and looks in my browser like a relic of 1980s. Suggestions how to fix that (in Chrome) are most welcome.


  1. Firefox reader mode.

    1. Chromium / Chrome has also a reader mode. It just needs to be enabled via chrome://flags first. It works well for Dan's site.

    2. @Jochen: Thanks a million. Exactly what I was looking for.

      One does have to wonder though why a browser company living off ads would hide the reader mode in "Experimental features" ;))

  2. I think another reason for the "Nothing Works" world is that the only true Management Plane separation that exists in our industry is that of the real "human" management. In the medium/large enterprises they (and their interests, KPIs and so on) are very much separated from the technical workforce. And increasingly so, because today the technical workforce might not even be the employees of the same enterprise. They are likely to come from some IT consultancy outsource - degree of separation which makes a true SDN evangelist envy.

    So take an example. You - as a private person - buy a piece of consumer goods. Doesn't really matter what it is and what fruit appears on its back. What matters is that you are the end-user of it. And if using it causes a lot of pain, this will be your pain. So there is at least a tiny chance that you will rethink your choice next time and maybe try looking around or waiting for improvements. But if you are that manager who decided to purchase a product XYZ for your enterprise, the pain of trying to make it work will not be your pain, it will be the pain of that technical workforce, about whose suffering - frankly - you couldn't care less. As long as you can report the right PPT bullets (and KPIs) all the way upstream inside your enterprise organization.

    Of course, if things go really wrong - hours of outage again and again, stuff doesn't work at all, that kind of things - then the vendor XYZ will eventually be in trouble. Although usually they still can get away with it using one of the standard solutions ("Your technical guys did it all wrong, here is a free technical training for you to avoid this in the future!", "Yes, but we have this case described in the list of known issues", "We are sorry, here is a discount that will make it easier for you to reach your cost savings KPIs next quarter" and so on). But most ugly designs can still somehow work with the right amount of static routes and manual interventions, and who cares if the eyes of some "unreasonable employees" bleed while doing this =)

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