Creating Software Gems
Food gets eaten. Machines wear out. Software lasts forever.Food gets eaten. Machines wear out. Software lasts forever. Unlike other commodities, which get consumed (directly or indirectly) in the course of producing other goods, softwareat some pointbecomes good enough to keep. (I realize this is speculative, but work with me. It could happen.) What could frighten a software developer more than satisfied buyers, once the unserved fraction of the market becomes too small to sustain a business? Its been said that software products fall into two groups: mud balls and diamonds. A diamond can be judged in terms of closeness to perfection, but the only way to improve a ball of mud is to add more mud. Any resemblance to the current state of the software market is far from accidental.
The canonical diamond might be Wolfram Researchs Mathematica. If youd never seen a computer before, and someone showed you Mathematica, youd be thrilled to accept it as your definition of what a computer does. Arithmetic, symbolic calculation, processing of images and production of formatted documents all are grist for Mathematicas mill.