In the cemetery of good ideas, how is yours evolving? • The register

Something for the weekend? This is where the bones of Good Ideas lie: child of impressionable managers, twin of ailing projects, beloved parent of a reach creep. We will miss you. Not.

I’ve learned to keep a straight face whenever I hear the words “I have a great idea!” Unless spoken by Michael Caine, the phrase should be banned in applications team brainstorming sessions on the grounds that it incites violence. That’s the case with me, anyway.

There are different levels of a good idea, of course, each with its own gravestone space in the application development graveyard.

The Big Idea (Level 1) is Childish Fantasy. Anyone can come up with an idea that looks good in the Saturday morning movie in their own head, but not have a clue how to implement it. “Flying cars! Teleporters! Giant robots! Ray guns! Let’s build a Death Star!” You see, it’s easy, isn’t it? A child can do it.

The good idea (level 2) is the false hypothesis. Well known to anyone who has ever worked with a business analyst, this type of good idea is based on ignorance, lack of common sense, poor observation and slavish trend following. “Energy-efficient cars are popular, so let’s paint the windshield green.”

Whenever you see something stupid and wonder how it even got close to the production stage, you’re looking at a Tier 2.

Here’s one I saw recently: a humble box of supermarket oatmeal.

Photo of a box of porridge purchased from a French supermarket

This is supposed to be mush but looks a bit like wood shavings from a carpenter’s floor

The porridge in this photo looks a little weird, don’t you think? Let’s check out the instructions on the side of the box to make your hot and steamy breakfast…

Photo of a box of porridge bought from a French supermarket, showing preparation instructions on the side

I knew I was doing it wrong: all this wasted time trying to warm him up

“Pour your cereal into a bowl, add cold milk.” Ta-da! Your porridge is ready.

I can imagine what happened: someone from the French supermarket chain had the good idea (level 2) to sell their own brand of porridge. The fact that no one in France eats it was obviously no obstacle to such a brilliant concept. They had understood of porridge, and it was quite good.

Perhaps one of the idea teams had even seen illustrations of porridge in their school English textbooks, featuring kilted, ruddy-faced individuals ritually eating their morning porridge in a cauldron in a 1930s farmhouse kitchen before heading out to collect Scotch eggs. , dig for a fruitcake, insert another christian into the wicker man and process the haggises.

Essentially they assumed the porridge was muesli minus the ingredients that have flavor. Classic level 2 error.

Great Idea (Level 3) is the Annapurna fallacy, named after the famous Nepalese mountain. This type of good idea seems very impressive at first, but it is practically impossible to expand.

You’ll know an Annapurna app by the response you get from tech support when it inevitably starts going bad. Tech support will be tossed aside and replaced with an overly defensive marketing script written by the jerk whose good idea it was in the first place.

The script can be summarized as follows: “Our application is perfect. It’s your your mistake.”

Of all the places I didn’t expect to hear this slogan, it was at the world’s third largest comics and illustration festival last week in Angoulême. I was accompanying a fellow journalist who was filling out reports for a comic book blog in the United States. He had barely sat down with the developer of a popular comics-reading app platform (which will remain unnamed) for a casual chat when he found himself crossing swords with the whole power of Annapurna-esque marketing.

All it did was mention that its recent app update sparked complaints from users. Warned that the claims were exaggerated, he pulled out his iPad to demonstrate: covers not loading, screens not scrolling, random crashes, etc.

It’s like when you visit a particularly slow website. The site probably looked great when presented by the project manager in the company meeting room using fake content, but it didn’t scale well once it was stuffed with actual content. Of course, no one will admit it. If you use the contact form to send a message to let them know, you’ll get a response listing the many ways it must be your fault.

“Ho ho,” they smiled at my colleague. “You have an old iPad. Buy a new one.”

It doesn’t matter that the minimum specification of the app given in the app store assures the downloaders that it is compatible with their device. It doesn’t matter that he used the same device to play the same content without issue until the day before the forced app update. It was his failing to spend over €700 ($770+) on a tablet powerful enough to allow the new version of the app to continue showing him the comics he used to read without issue.

Slow website? Buy yourself a new computer! Stuck in a traffic jam? Buy a Maserati!

He was then told – and I’m not kidding – “You have too many comics.” No doubt his mother told him that on occasion too. But she’s not a company that sells digital comics in the first place.

In other words, it is your for lack of being such a loyal and spendthrift customer. If you didn’t keep buying things from us, the app would work fine. You inconsiderate bastard.

Since it seemed unlikely that he’d admit a technical glitch existed, I eventually steered Frost away from his potential Nixon so we could try a level 4 instead.

A great idea (level 4) is known as Armstrong-Osman. It’s a clever idea that can be adequately implemented, but no one knows why. It’s probably unnecessary.

The Level 4 in question was a virtual reality rendition of the comic book reading experience in the Metaverse. It was on display at the stand of the French comic book application company Izneo.

If you thought comic book fans were socially awkward before, wait until you see them leaning into a comic book while wearing an Oculus. My fellow comic book reporter even took pictures of such an idiot trying out the prototype.

Photo of Dabbsy wearing an Oculus VR headset at an exhibition stand

A cool guy wearing a VR headset. On his left, the author

I was reading a lucky Luke album, honest. It appeared to me as a giant 10-foot-tall hardback edition standing upright in the middle of a dusty Old West frontier town. I had to zap the corners of the pages with the laser pointer, like shooting guns I guess, to turn them, and I had to stop myself from biting into the living room for fear of stepping into a non-metaversic wall.

Comics in the Metaverse, huh? Ha ha, what a useless exercise! So level 4!

Then it hit me.

Whether Meta/Facebook’s implementation of a metaverse is successful or not, metaverses are inevitable. People will start spending more and more time in their favorite metaverse, just like they do now on the web, social media, and online games.

And if you’re the type of person who wallows in the metaverse most of the day, you’re unlikely to take off the headset to read a book. This does not mean that users of the metaverse are illiterate: I am saying that they would also like to do their reading in the metaverse. Izneo might be onto something here.

As silly as it may initially seem, reading comics in the Metaverse isn’t necessarily going to end up in the graveyard of good ideas, if only because it doesn’t seem like a particularly good idea in the first place. It might be a sign of a really great idea: an idea that sounds quite obviously terrible until you think about it.

It’s decided. This is how I plan to pitch concepts from now on. “Hey, listen, guys! I have a very bad idea! »

You can write that on my tombstone.

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Alistair Dabbs

Alistair Dabbs is a freelance tech enthusiast, juggling tech journalism, training, and digital publishing. More than Autosave is for Wimps and @alidabbs.

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