Sunday, September 18, 2005

Theory: "Tools 'n' Data; Guns 'n' Bullets"

Jesse at Very Spatial posted an article by Frank, which is exactly what I have at one point or another have tried to post before. The only reason I haven't posted my same feelings is because of the office. Most often after re-reading my drafts, I felt like I was sounding mucho bitter and angry. So, I tended to delete them. To sum up what Frank points out in an outstanding way is that data builders or collectors and tool builders need to freakin' talk to one another. I tell tool builders in my corporation that we need to work together all of the time. Also, I tell them about what I see and read about the GeoWeb and most of your great advancements in web mapping and geography. Yet, it gets rather frustrating when no one takes you seriously or they're too busy or too egotistical to listen. Ugg! It's making me frustrated as we speak. I have a theory about data and tools:

"Tools 'n' data are like guns 'n' bullets.

You could have a pretty nice gun. It may have taken you all your resources to buy the gun. Yet, once you finally get that gun, you need bullets for it to be a working gun. If you spent all of your resources to buy your gun and didn't have anything left, you couldn't buy any bullets for your fancy new gun. Or, you had a limited amount of bullets for your gun, but you're about to run out of bullets for your gun. Or, you keep spending additional unexpected resources over the life of your gun.

Eventually, the bullets become more expensive than the gun originally was.

Finally, after running out of bullets or never having any, what do you end up with? A hunk of metal. Otherwise known as a club.

Now how effective is your gun for your original purpose at that point? Answer: It's not."

This is the situation some organizations find themselves in when they commit to creating a "killer app" or "the best tool ever." They tend to forget 1) about the data, and, 2) the cost of the data over the lifetime of the tool or app. And people wonder why they're always complaining about not having data? Please, take my advice: "Invest in data." Otherwise, you'll find yourself up a creek without a paddle. So, take a good look at what Frank says and ask yourself, "Who is building tools for my data?" Or, "Who has data for my tools?" Then go and work closer with those people. Have lunch. Move into a nearby cube. Date the PM's daughter, or, son. Or, both. Only so: yourself, the tool builder and/or data builder, can live in harmony. It may keep your butt out of a sling and me sane.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Wilkens Micawber said...

I'm listening to you. I don't qualify as either though.

9/19/2005 06:07:00 AM  
Blogger Ron Lake said...

You should be interested in the GeoWeb 2007 conference being held in Vancouver, July 23-27. This is the 2nd conference under this name following GeoWeb 2006. It is an international meeting with people from more than 20 countries attending in 2006.

Check out http://www.geoweb.org.

5/16/2007 10:02:00 AM  

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