if I could give them back just ten minutes of their lives, most of them wouldn’t be here.
He’s wrong about that. He would need to give them back 10 minutes of their lives, and then keep on giving them back different 10 minutes on a very regular basis.
I disagree. Let’s take drivers who got into a serious accident : if you “gave them just back ten minutes” so that they avoided getting into that accident, most of them wouldn’t have had another accident later on. It’s not as if the world neatly divided into safe drivers, who never have accidents, and unsafe drivers, who have several.
Sure, those kids that got in trouble are more likely to have problematic personalities, habits, etc. which would make it more likely to get in trouble again—but that doesn’t mean more likely than not. Most drivers don’t get have (serious) accidents, most kids don’t get in (serious) trouble, and if you restrict yourself to the subset of those who already had it once, I agree a second problem is more likely, but not certain.
I’ve been the guy religiously arguing for pushing an early version of the product in front of users as soon as possible (as the saying goes, “if you’re not ashamed of your first version then you’ve released too late”), not in order to learn whether it’s a good product or not, but to learn details of what needs to be improved but also what doesn’t need to be improved (because nobody cares about / notices the “problem”).
A related debate has been about how much you should spec out your product before putting it before customers—Big Design Up Front vs. figure stuff out as we go along based on user feedback. I usually prefer the second, but have to admit that Big Design Up Front is probably the best (albeit less fun) approach. Part of that preference for improvisation is probably because of some halo effect around the fox approach or agile or XP or empiricism or something.
(probably paraphrasing this post a bit) So we probably have an issue where “we” (nerds) have plenty of warnings about trusting theory too much, but few warnings about trusting empiricism too much, so we’re bound to end up under-valuing theory. Especially once we start attaching identity labels (hedges vs foxes, scruffies vs. neats, hackers vs. architecture astronauts...).