Dissatisfaction / Please yourself Ryan 24 Mar 2006

19 comments Latest by Randy

“I believe that stuff should be easier than it is, and it pisses me off that most people are so content with the state of the art, because it means they’re not helping make it better.” -Steve Yegge

“In order to create living structure, we must please ourselves.”
-Christopher Alexander, The Nature of Order, Book 4

The dissatisfaction cycle

19 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Thomas 24 Mar 06

I have to say that I have no understanding of what this post is.

Rabbit 24 Mar 06

I agree with the first quote.

The diagram scares me. An endless loop of dissatisfaction? (I mean really it’s not too far off from the way things are, but still…)

RS 24 Mar 06

An endless loop of dissatisfaction?

You can move a horse with a carrot in front or a whip in back. For the carrot types, replace “Dissatisfaction” with “Shiny feeling that things could be even better” :)

Rabbit 24 Mar 06

Hehe… Good one Ryan, I like that.

Thanks, too. That makes me feel a bit better.

BTW SVN readers if you have the time, read that blog post Ryan linked to — it’s long but interesting.

Kendall 24 Mar 06

I think that’s a great illustration of iteration and innovation.

NathanB 24 Mar 06

Reminds me of the best fortune cookie message I’ve ever had: “Dissatisfaction is the first step in the progress of a man or nation.”

Dave P 24 Mar 06

I’m (sort of) with Rabbit,

That’s a great post by steve, but that diagram doesn’t really say anything to me. Nothing at all, really.

Aaron Blohowiak 24 Mar 06

About dissatisfaction..

There is nothing better than to know that you don’t know.
Not knowing, yet thinking you know —
This is sickness.
Only when you are sick of being sick
Can you be cured.
The sage’s not being sick
Is because he is sick of sickness.
Therefore he is not sick.

-Lao Tzu

Emily 24 Mar 06

I like the box around the “Author” comment….


optimus 24 Mar 06

the optimistic part of me laughs at that diagram and assumes it’s meant as satire.

the pessimistic part of me thinks that this diagram is dead serious, and could probably be turned into a New York Times bestseller and sell a million copies to douchebag middle managers if it had a clever enough title.

please please please be satire.

Phil 25 Mar 06

I think there’s a distinction between being dissatisfied with technical problems we can fix and being discontent. I realized a while back that most things need to be fixed, maintained, or given love once in a while - that these hiccups are not out of the ordinary - and ever since then, my contendedness in life has increased.

Adrian 25 Mar 06

How about: “That Sucks! Eight winning strategies for fixing your life, love and business.”?

Re: The Nature of Order. Never were so few original ideas expressed in so many redundant words. Does anyone have the inside story on why Alexander fell out with Oxford University Press and ended up self-publishing what appears to be a completely unedited manuscript? I ask this as a supporter of his work, because what’s really needed is a concise and coherent exposition of these ideas, not a sprawling, chaotic brain-dump. Nice pics, though.

Re: dissatisfaction. Almost by definition, designers are never content with the state of the art and strive to improve their own and/or others’ products and services. But most people are not designers in that sense, though in a broader sense, everyone is.

It’s a pretty trite observation, really.

Piotr Usewicz 25 Mar 06

Endless seek for perfection. How disappointing.

ethan 25 Mar 06

Well, that’s a lil bit funny.

John 25 Mar 06

At some point you have to say “Done” and get off the marry-go-round. Nothing will ever be perfect no matter how much you strive for it.

Being discontent starts the process. I am discontent with all the blogging/cms software currently avalable. So I began building my own. It isn’t live, I am still discontent, but eventually it will be closer to what I want. Once functional, I will say done, and then leave it alone.

Love the full post from Steve Yegge.

RS 25 Mar 06

Once functional, I will say done, and then leave it alone.

Good point John.

Mark M 26 Mar 06

Leaders are always sufficiently discontent. Everyone else is insufficiently discontent to do anything about it.

Randy 06 Apr 06

Nice ad Charles!

I don’t know where I got the term, but what comes to mind from this post is “constructive dissatisfaction.” That’s what led to indoor plumbing (and whatever Meletron was making in the 50’s). I worked for the Ministry of Public Works in Egypt on a consulting contract once. One of the difficulties I saw with making progress was that the culture was such that it was unacceptable to criticize what we were offering…so when we asked for their evaluation, they said “It’s all very useful.” When we asked, “What was the least useful part,” they replied “It’s ALL useful.”

It seems to me things only get better when a) I’m dissatisfied with the current circumstance, and/or b) I have a better idea. Salespeople know this as “selling to the pain.” Not enough pain = no sale. Mark’s comment about “sufficiently discontent” is right on…and I think it’s a hallmark of the American culture to always be trying to improve things. I haven’t found that anywhere else, and while it has it’s disadvantages, I’d say they’re outweighed by the advantages.

Remember that other 50’s ad slogan: “Progress is our most important product.”