back to article You may not be a software company, but that isn't an excuse to lame-out at computering

I don't begrudge organisations who want us to start calling them "software companies". People are free to do whatever they like with such trivial labels, I guess. But the tick of such labelling has always been an annoyance to me. No, you're a company that uses software effectively Most companies saying "actually we're a …

  1. m0rt

    "Software companies, especially young ones that are no longer just extracting maintenance fees, are built around one of the core problems of innovation: failure."

    And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the problem in the world of online crapness that is the general result of this and similar attitudes.

    Just because you can get a piece of software written* that will do some cool and funky thing for your business alone, doesn't mean you should if you don't have the proper resources for a decent dev shop. This is why security sucks, why UI sucks, why there are so many shitty little applications that just cause more trouble than they are worth.

    Failing fast means causing grief to your user base. You wouldn't do it in any other industry outside of a controlled environment so why do it in software?

    Remember kids, just say NO to kool-aid.

    *and incidently, probably specced out by the Marketing team. No offence, Marketeers, but when you lot run companies empires fold. Just see Microsoft/IBM etc.

    1. Nate Amsden Silver badge

      as someone who has worked at several different startups over the past 17 years, all of which I would consider software companies, I'd have to agree. The new fad of break early/often is quite frustrating, much more so for mature products (lookin at you firefox from a palemoon browser).

      The whole concept of SaaS I believe now is because the software is such a piece of shit that customers CAN'T operate it on their own. My first SaaS gig(before SaaS was even a term) had me on a project to prove to their largest customer that the software could be run by them, I completed the project and the customer paid the company I was with $1 million as part of the contract, but they saw first hand how shitty the experience was to manage the software and so continued to opt for the SaaS offering (that company I was with was later bought by a much much bigger company).

      It's really sad how quality has gone out the window in so many cases in exchange for the new shiny.

      "Don't fix what isn't broken" is my new saying I guess.

  2. Nifty Silver badge

    Not even an honorary mention that J. Lyons & Co built the first business computer for their tea shop logistics in 1951 and were soon time-sharing it to other businesses and government?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's a bit like people, especially politicians, who regard companies like Facebook, Amazon and Google as technology companies contributing to a "digital future" , when in fact they are data processors, warehousing companies and advertising agencies.......

  3. Dan 55 Silver badge

    "Banks have always understood IT well enough to gorge themselves on it"

    Really? There isn't two months that go by without a bank going down. It's what happens when they outsource everything half-way across the world and cut their own staff to the bone.

    The most successful companies (Facebook, Amazon, Google, Amen) have it all in-house.

    I think there's a lesson for us all. And the lesson is, let's not get on our high horse and preach to businesses about software because they're not software-y enough, because those that do make software their businesses (i.e. consultancies) do it worse than everyone else.

  4. horse of a different color


    Anyone else wondering why the f-k you'd want to ADD anchovies to your pizza?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Anchovies

      Maybe because it's one of the oldest things put on a pizza, besides the "pure" and simple Margherita and Marinara ones? They were a cheap food, easily available.

      I've see foreigners put much stranger things on a pizza.

      1. m0rt

        Re: Anchovies

        "I've see foreigners put much stranger things on a pizza."

        Pineapple on pizza is the work of the devil.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Anchovies

          Pineapple on pizza is the work of the devil.

          Nope. Pineapple on pizza is the work of my mother. Like pineapple on gammon. Or raisins in curry (made with curry powder by no chilli or other spices).

          1. Daniel von Asmuth

            Re: Anchovies

            "Pineapple on pizza is the work of the devil"

            Maybe, but shoarma on pizza seems to be a Dutch invention.

        2. BebopWeBop

          Re: Anchovies

          Quite - and although it *might* sound interesting, hot pineapple is curiously tasteless, leaving a slightly disquieting texture behind.

      2. MonkeyCee

        Re: Anchovies

        Bill English, one of the many delightful kiwi politicians, not only makes "pizza" with pineapple and spaghetti hoops as toppings, but considers it worthy of instagramming it.

        Anchovies are tasty, albeit strong. They are also a good way of stopping people from nicking your pizza :)

      3. Steve the Cynic

        Re: Anchovies

        I've see foreigners put much stranger things on a pizza.

        Near where I live(1), there is a branch of a pizza chain that does take-out pizza with foie gras on it.

        (1) Near Lille in northern France.

    2. Daniel von Asmuth

      PIzza In, Code Out

      I am a software company of sorts. Now you know why they say that software is eating the world.

  5. Frumious Bandersnatch

    They continually throw it at the wall to see what sticks

    <drools>Mmmm. Wall Spaghetti</drools>

  6. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    "Software houses as a bug mfg machine" is an idea that's been around a *long* time.

    After all "perfect" software would need no support, would it?

    So no need of a support contract, right?

    Let me suggest that this attitude (conscious or not) has a lot to do with the state of modern software, and vice versa.

    I'd love to see a software house set up to approach every job in the sort of methodical way IBM Federal Systems (the model for the CMM5 level) did it.

    But it took them a long time to get there.

  7. ecofeco Silver badge

    Here's another eaxmple:


    Can we send all the marketers on that special spaceship now?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where I work

    Was started by developers, and considered itself a software company, that happened to run an e-commerce website. The company was extremely successful, with a very slim management structure.

    Years later, after being aquired by a bigger e-commerce company, dev is now considered a department, there are managers everywhere, and sales are dropping like a stone...

  9. JohnFen

    Marketing wank

    "Most companies saying "actually we're a software company" are anything but."

    I would correct this by saying that all companies saying that aren't.

    The problem here is that this is the sort of thing that is uttered by marketing and PR departments, and nobody should be listening to those people, let alone taking anything they say seriously.

  10. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Sure, I'll concede that you can get all intellectually crafty and point out that money is, largely, just numbers in a spreadsheet somewhere, but it'd be odd to call these banks "software companies".

    AFAICS with banks, at least in the UK, closing branches hand over fist software companies are exactly what they're becoming and they're nowhere near good enough at it.

  11. Anonymal coward

    English as she are spoken....

    "A seasoned software innovator would sniggle at the notion..."

    After nigh-on 40 years in DP/IT/software, and much seasoning, I need a training course! I want to know how to sniggle, I want to be able to hold my head high in right-on places like Starbucks, able to sniggle with the best of them...

    1. veskebjorn

      Re: English as she are spoken....

      Per the American Heritage dictionary, “sniggle” means: “to fish for eels by thrusting a baited hook into their hiding places.”

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