Friday Development Anecdote

[I was reminded of my favorite “Point-haired boss” anecdote today.  Thought some of you might be able to relate.]

It was ’97 or ’98.  Netscape 2.0 (and the first iteration of JavaScript) were only a few months old.  I had designed a (then) novel inter-page server communication technique using graphics and cookies.  For the time it was, if I do say so myself, pretty remarkable (there are still links out there claiming it as a precursor to modern AJAX).

I explained how the new financial goal planning system we developed dynamically reacted to user data during a questionnaire to both dramatically improve performance and customize presentation zones with contextual, meaningful information during an interaction.  Income bracket, number of dependents, current savings, etc – it would all feed into a dynamic, context-sensitive system that presented tailored information and products.  Initial human factors work indicated orders-of-magnitude increases in user acceptance and confidence in the system.

After a 30 minute presentation about the business opportunities the new technique presented the lead executive in the room thought long and hard, nodded and then said “Can we make it blue?

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