The Dish Soap Experiment

Sent by Jonathan Stark on November 27th, 2016

This Thanksgiving, we had 32 people show up for dinner. By about 6pm, everyone had departed, fat and happy 🦃 🍾  🍰

As you might imagine, we had a mountain of dishes.

We have a dishwasher, but our fancy stuff (e.g., crystal, silver, etc) all needs to be hand washed. And man, there was a ton of it. 

Since I’m the designated “dish dog” in our house (my wife does all the cooking, I do all the dishes), I had my work cut out for me. 

So, I got started and was going strong for about 15 minutes.

Just when I was getting into a good rhythm, the unthinkable happened: 

I ran out of dish soap!!! 

😡 😡 😡 😡 😡

See, we’ve got one of those under-counter mounted pump soap dispensers. It decreases clutter on the counter which is nice, but you can never tell when you’re about to run out of soap because the bottle is hidden from view under the sink. 

So, I stopped the water, dried my hands, headed down to the basement, rooted around for our giant economy sized dish soap refill jug for about 10 minutes, finally found it, lugged it upstairs, and began to refill the dispenser. Since you can’t see how full the dispenser is, I overfilled it, which resulted with in dish soap spilling all over the place. 

This happens every. Single. Time. 

I’m aware of the fact that running out of dish soap is a problem of little consequence in the grand scheme of things.

BUT...

It annoys me to no end. It always seems to run out at the worst time and it drives me crazy.   

What would you do?

Let’s use this scenario as the basis for a thought experiment. You’re not in the dish soap business but you are in the business of diagnosing problems and prescribing and/or implementing solutions.

The process of uncovering value is not unique to custom software development. Working through an exercise in an area that you’re not invested in will help you gain a “baggage-free” perspective. 

So... Imagine that you are in the dish soap business and I asked you to solve my “dish soap always running out at the worst time” problem.

Just hit reply and let me know!

Yours, 

—J


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