Building things slowly, and with feeling

April 2, 2021

Stitch Fix posted an article on their blog yesterday entitled "Move Slow and Make Things." It was meant to be an April Fool's joke, but the basic premise of the first paragraph got me to thinking.

Industry has always been obsessed with making as many things as possible as fast as possible. There is usually a monetary incentive behind this. In rare cases, like the Covid-19 vaccines, the incentive is more primal. The majority of the time, however, it's purely a desire for greater wealth.

This is why, when you go on Amazon to shop for something, you'll see dozens of bizarrely-named brands selling nearly-identical products. The market - the desire for wealth - has created an optimization for most money earned for least expenditure of resources.

An alternative to this is building things slowly and with feeling. If you're building a bookcase, finish the back end that no-one will likely ever see. If you're building an app, make the help screen beautiful, inviting, and rewarding to use, even though most people will never use it. If you're provisioning a server, install and configure your shell of choice rather than relying solely on bash.

The artisanal approach is not for everyone. It may not even be for anyone all of the time. But every so often, it can be rewarding to take a step back, take a breath, and take your time. This applies as much to software as it does to physical objects.