Companies Repudiating Their Own Worthless Products

:date: 2023-06-04 18:54 :tags:

I feel like I was one of the first people to properly appreciate the potential of working from home. I'm a computer nerd who specializes in using computers that may be in arbitrary locations (that I am not in); surely there's no need for me to risk my life and the lives of innocents to come to yet another arbitrary location to do my job. In 1999, I thought this was obvious. I'm now realizing that while this will become accepted one funeral at a time, my funeral is unlikely to wait long enough.

I've mocked Google for decades now for not fostering remote work habits in their workforce while selling products to promote remote collaboration. Today I notice El Reg is wise to this obtuseness.


Rather than take the easy biscuit of carping about the current cohort of gormless tech giants doing grand stupidity, I thought I'd punch up a little higher: Bell Labs. Yes, if I had a time machine at my disposal, I'd go back to to Murray Hill, NJ in the late 1960s and I'd proceed to mock the so-called "smart" people there for, say, making Claude Shannon leave Petoskey, MI (which is a very nice place).

Well, what choice did they possibly have in the 1960s? I propose that all of those Bell Labs researchers should have done all of their business by telephone. There is no other arrangement that makes sense. You may object that scratchy expensive 1960s telephone calls were a terrible way to do anything (though please note that the audio quality and call reliability were better than today's "telephones"). My point is that we should contemplate how much faster all impediments to using this company's product would have been removed if all of their specialized workforce dedicated to that task was invited to seriously use their own product.

UPDATE 2024-05-17

I just noticed that Zoom has required its staff to return to the office. The only reason Zoom is singled out to be reported on is that the enormous stupidity of their policy reversal is obvious to most thinking people.