More Stuff, Faster
The article’s title is a play on “the minimum viable product,” a mantra that is burned into product development companies that employ Agile methods.
If you have not heard of Agile, do not worry. It may be out of style by the time I have completed this post. I heard rumblings that the industry is transitioning to “Yoga.” The underlying idea is that since humans are flexible, there needs to be an equally flexible business process. Some people get bent out of shape by all this flexibility – industry tends to label those folks turnover.
Part of Agile is to get a minimum viable product into a customer’s hands as quickly as possible. If the customer is satisfied, management might be equally satisfied to call the product done. After all, if customers will pay for it, it is best to let the design team move on to building the next widget for repeat sales.
People are now content to get unfinished products as long as they believe it will make them happy or solve a problem. Maybe it is an app you downloaded. You have fun with the app for a bit. In most cases, you will get bored or frustrated with it. When that happens, you dispose of it. And eventually we get bored with our device full of disposable apps. We toss it too.
More Control, Inferior Product
Agile has been a dream for management of software projects. From 20,000 feet, the idea is to break work into tiny pieces. The smaller the piece, the easier it is to predict how long the work will take and control it to meet schedule. Sound familiar?
Agile, intentionally or not, tends to expose that 75% of actual work is unplannable. (Estimate is from my own experience only, your number may vary.) Software projects have a complexity that unfolds exponentially. It is impossible to predict the finish line when you are still tying your shoelaces for the race. After all, we are linear creatures.
So what happens when a team predicts the project schedule incorrectly? The bosses still control. After all, the shareholders demand profit. The company might end up shipping a minimum viable product because it was either that or ship nothing.
This is a race to the bottom and one reason why durable consumer electronics do not exist today.
The Minimum Viable Planet
Under the headline, the answer was “create e-waste;” I believe the question is “how can we maximize profit?” When profit is the only bottom line, a minimum viable product leads to the minimum viable planet.
Humans are storytellers. We love good stories. When we focus on the minimum viable story, there is only a punchline. There is no rich, developed story. We trade happiness for pleasure. Entertainment for distraction.
Society increasingly believes that internal human problems are solved with external technology. Technology sometimes erodes our humanity and always increases our dependency on it. We end up enslaved by it.
Jade is so incredibly different from anything I have seen before. I am considering it to be “digital detox” from your existing devices. With it, you will learn how to tell a great story. A story about keeping our planet sustainable for human life. I wish I could tell you more.
We want to ensure that your children do not inherit a minimum viable planet.
Ty is a Founder of Shift Sight, LLC.