The Fishing-Lure Syndrome

Posted by Robert Merrill on July 3, 2012 under 100 Words | Be the First to Comment

July 3, 2012

I like to fish. I’m not very good. But I love to look at fishing lures! They’re a dazzling collision of artistry and packaging, sprinkled with the magic dust of scientific claims or professional endorsements that they will indeed Catch More Fish.

That’s what everybody wants, right? Catch More Fish!

Well, no. What do you think was the percentage of 2011 fishing lure sales that came from fish? The goal of the fishing-lure business isn’t just getting fish to bite. It’s us fisher-folk they’re after, too.

Does your great software or idea for making software not sell because it’s all about the fish?

July 10, 2012

The right lure to buy is the one that’s best at catching fish. Duh. But how do I know that? And how much does the lure really matter, relative to the skill of the fisher and the inscrutable mind (or whatever’s in the head besides jaws, eyes, and gills) of the fish?

Software choices are hard to evaluate, address problems that are hard to understand, and produce results that are much harder to quantify than what’s in the cooler. And there are a lot of factors besides the choice of software that determine success.

Now there’s a recipe for stress.

July 17, 2012

All fisher-folk have their favorite lures. For me, it’s the venerable Dardevle Spoon. I caught a big Northern with one once. Statistically significant? Are you kidding? But I just feel good when I tie on a Dardevle, and the fish can tell.

Classic red-and-white Dardevle Spoon lure

But when I go into the fishing-lure store, I begin to doubt. Look at them all! There has to be something even better than a Dardevle Spoon on this wall! What if I’ve been missing out all these years?

It’s OK to settle for good enough when it comes to software. Your mental health probably requires it.

July 24, 2012

What if the purpose of fishing lures isn’t to catch fish, but to entertain them?

My wife likes to go fishing, too. Notice that I did not say “catch fish.” A fish on the line has to be gotten off, and that’s a slimy interruption of the fun of being outdoors and throwing stuff in the water and watching the fish chase it. Her favorite lure looks like a duckling, and her favorite bobber is a likeness of Snoopy.

Don’t be surprised, or worse yet, offended, when people adapt your software to create value you never knew existed.