Scaling innovation

The McDonald's of Software Development

Robert Nickel - August 29, 2019  🏷️  Thinking

Often when I tell people, that I am a Software Engineer, they explain their idea of a game changing app, but don't know how to make it real. People backtrack when they find out about the cost of software development, because they fear the risk and often have no clue about this whole craftmansship. This does not mean, that the ideas are worthless, many of them are really good and some are actually game changing, I believe. So there is value, but no one picks it up.

Why is there no McSoftware that paves the way for low-budget projects to become real? It could be a franchising company with a world wide network of managers and lawyers, a great branding and very efficient value streams, just like the fast food restaurant equivalent McDonald's.

I thought about this a lot, especially about the question, how I could build this. And I came to this result: If it would be achievable, someone would probably have achieved it already, or at least something similar. But that is not the case, as far as I know. The reason: software development barely scales. The software itself scales indefinitely, and therefore there is no reason to produce the same thing cheaper then the competitors. Software breathes innovation. And innovation does not scale at all, that is in its nature. Innovation in general is the effort of many but the success of few, and those Einsteins who get humanity to the next level might get the prestige and/or the money.

What can we get out of this? The bad news are, that you will need to have the game changing idea and the resources to make it real. But on the other hand, due to higher level programming languages, reusable components and frameworks, better ways of teaching and learning technology and more digital natives with upcoming generations, it is getting cheaper and more accessible over time to develop innovative software that changes the world.