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Old Mar 10, 2010, 06:30 AM
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quintin3265 quintin3265 is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: State College, PA
Posts: 193
Default Opportunity costs

I think I should comment on a few issues, in particular the problem of how issues are being resolved.

There are a lot of things that aren't ideal with the site, but all software always has a lot of things wrong with it. I never use the term "beta" here because I don't believe there is any distinguishing characteristic between a "beta" and a "release" version. Each version has features that are requested and bugs that need to be resolved, and when bugs are fixed, that just makes it easier to add more features.

If you comment here often, I implore you to read about the concept of "opportunity costs." You can read about it at any economics site. The gist is that, even when money does not change hands, money has a hand in every decision that people make. For example, I could go to get a doctorate, or I could continue working. If I get a doctorate, then I can expect to earn more after I graduate, but in return I will have high debts and (this is important), I will not earn money that I could have earned while studying. Not only that, but I won't earn interest on the money I would have earned while studying, and when I retire at 70, decades of compounding could make the difference between being a millionaire or not. In reality, it costs up to twice as much as the tuition rate to go to college because of the lost income.

Now, imagine that money is replaced with "feature hours." If I change all the grids around for the entire site, which everyone agrees is a good idea, it would take 200 feature hours, plus some value that is lost when people get frustrated and leave because of other site problems that aren't fixed in the meantime. But increasing this refresh time took one feature hour. While fixing it did delay the complete redesign by an hour's worth of work, it added a huge amount of value because people will encounter a lot less frustration in the meantime. The idea with opportunity costs is to look at things not in terms of the value that the things themselves are worth, but to also consider what "hidden" value would be lost by pursuing different options. Sure, this caching fix is not a major improvement, but for the amount of time that was put into it, the fix made the most improvement per "feature hour" available right now.
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