Thursday, May 2, 2013

Go Ahead, Offer Me That One More Time

The background: My wife has been a Type 1 Diabetic for 50 years. Most of us have heard of Diabetes but only know half the story - the half that says, if a Diabetic’s blood sugar drops they need something sweet (like orange juice) to bring it up. The flip side is that if their blood sugar level goes high - just as likely - the last thing they need is more sugar. In fact, they need insulin and physical activity; pronto.

The scene: We find ourselves in a sales presentation where my wife and I are being regaled at the prospect of buying into a program that will yield untold happiness and fortune to us and our progeny for generations to come. The pitch takes way too long to get to the money details, and by the time we are ready to say, “let us think on this outside the confines of this purgatory,” two hours have past.

The issue: That would be two hours of sitting. Basically motionless. Or an eternity of sugar-building, blood-sweetening, life-sucking, artery-clogging, insulin-depleting, coma-inducing, anxiety-building lethargy - in diabetic time. She needs insulin and large muscle activity; pronto. Insulin can be administered through the attached pump, but activity cannot be faked by a vile of drugs and a needle continuously inserted under the skin.

No, she needs to get moving; pronto.

So we thank sales rep Jerry for his presentation and say we need to go, so that my wife, a Diabetic, can get some activity.

“Oh, I completely understand, I’ll get you some Orange Juice” he says, proving quite conclusively that Jerry does, in fact, not understand.

“No, no, we need to get moving to lower her blood sugar, but thank you very much.”

“Wait, let Carl our finance guy give you the bonus offer. This will only take a few more diabetic fortnights to unravel. Here’s Carl.”

“Carl, I’m sorry but we need to get moving, as my wife is a diabetic and..”

Carl sweetly interrupts, “Oh, no need to explain, let me get you some Orange Juice.”

“No Carl, that’s not it... we need to get moving...”

Carl says, here’s Janice, our concierge - who then says, “I understand you’re diabetic. Let me get some Orange Juice..”

We literally ran screaming from the building.

There are many lessons to be learned from this experience, but let us focus on one. There is no "one" solution for every situation.

As an I.T. Architect, it may be that most of your business solutions can benefit from a n-tiered, web-based architecture leveraging your shared hosting platform, a relational database running on clustered VMWare servers. Frankly, that’s a pretty good general architecture, but don’t fall into the trap of being so myopic that you just assume that this one architecture solves all problems.

Take the time to learn other solutions; deeply. Practice them. Understand when, why, and how these alternatives should be employed. Don’t be a one-trick pony or your customers may run screaming from the building in search of ... vodka.

and a little OJ to top it off.

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