The Core Dump

A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures

[By Nic Lindh on Wednesday, 03 June 2009]

Microsoft and the lemonade stand parable

Nic tries his hand at a parable to explain the problem with Microsoft.

Microsoft has been pre-announcing some products lately that look like they’re going to be very nice. But I’m skeptical. Why? Please allow me to illustrate with a parable about a lemonade stand.

“Hey, you want to buy some lemonade? It’s great lemonade.”

“Really? Better than the other lemonades?”

“Yeah, absolutely. Totally great lemonade.”

“Cool. I’ll buy a glass.”

Lemonade is handed over.

“Yuck. This lemonade tastes horrible.”

“What? Really? No, it’s good lemonade.”

“I’m telling you, it tastes horrible.”

“Oh, right. I see what you mean. But I’m working on a better lemonade. It’ll be out real soon. It’ll taste great. So if you could just keep drinking that lemonade for a little bit longer. Really, just a little bit longer, and the new lemonade I’m working on will taste great!”

“OK. Sure. I already bought your lemonade, so I’ll drink it a bit longer, but this new lemonade better be fantastic, or I’m out of here!”

A fist is defiantly shaken in the air.

“Yeah, sure, it will. It will be the best lemonade you ever drank. Really. Just outstanding.”

A few days go by.

“So where is this new lemonade you promised me?”

“It’s a little late. Just a little. You know, making lemonade is hard. Not as easy as you’d think.”

“But you told me the new lemonade would be ready by now.”

“Did I? Oh, I’m sorry. Terribly sorry. But the new lemonade is actually even better than I thought it would be. So good. Yes. So very, very good. You’ll like it.”

“OK. Guess I’ll wait a bit longer.”

A few days go by and our protagonist returns to the lemonade stand.

“Here’s the new lemonade! Woo-hoo! See how it sparkles? That, my friend, is some excellent lemonade.”

“Fantastic! I gotta have the new lemonade. Here’s my credit card. Just pour!”

“But of course. One glass of new and improved lemonade coming right up!”

A glass of lemonade is handed over.

“Yuck! Bastard! This lemonade tastes horrible!”

“What? No it doesn’t.”

“Yes it does. I just drank it. You told me it was going to be outstanding, but it tastes just as bad as the old lemonade.”

“Well, OK, maybe the new lemonade has some problems. A few. Not that many.”

“What are you talking about? It tastes horrible, just like your old lemonade.”

“Ah, but it’s actually new lemonade. Completely different. Just seems like the old lemonade, which it is not. I’ve figured out why you think it tastes bad, and I’m going to have a better lemonade out soon.”

“How soon?”

“Reeeeal soon. You won’t even notice time has passed.”

“Because this lemonade is horrible.”

“The new lemonade will be the best lemonade ever and it will be out tomorrow.”

“Really? Tomorrow? I’ll be back tomorrow.”

A day passes.

“So is the new lemonade you promised ready?”

“Ah, the new lemonade… It’s almost ready. Very close.”

“So I’ll come back tomorrow?”

“Yes, tomorrow. Yes. It will definitely be ready tomorrow. And taste fantastic. Yum, yum, it will be the best lemonade ever.”

A day passes.

“Hi there, is the new lemonade ready yet?”

“No.”

“But you said it would be ready today.”

“I did? Oh, oh, heh. You thought it would be ready today?”

“Yes, you said it would be ready today.”

“Well, sir, lemonade-making is difficult. Hard to predict, really. Tricky. What with the lemons and all.”

“So I’m still drinking the lemonade that tastes like crap. That’s what you’re telling me.”

“Did you get the latest lemonade? It really doesn’t taste as bad. As a matter of fact, it’s really good!”

“Yes, I’m drinking the latest lemonade, and it doesn’t taste at all as good as the lemonade you promised. Not at all.”

“Well, making lemonade takes time.”

“Then why did you tell it would be ready several days ago?”

“Have you tasted my latest lemonade? It’s really very good.”

Fade to black.

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