Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A note to vendors on the Church Turing Thesis

At work I regularly get vendors throwing about words like "unique", "revolutionary", "game changing", while of course promising to reduce costs, increase agility and pretty much everything else bar world hunger.

I normally ask standard questions in reply at this point, mainly about what it build upon. What really annoys me is when people then say "its completely new".

No it isn't, its an evolution of something, it might be a clever idea but its not going to be a completely and utterly new solution that no-one in the whole world has ever done anything like it before. Let me introduce you to the Church Turing thesis
Every effectively calculable function (effectively decidable predicate) is general recursive

In other words just TELL me what you are building on and I will have a lot more respect and a lot more interest than just telling me that it is 100% new and original. Snake-oil salesman try that approach a decent vendor should know the roots of their product and be able to explain the previous things that they have built upon. If Isaac Newton was admit standing on the shoulders of giants then a software vendor had better be standing on shoulders of something if they want to be credible.

Your product might be great, but if you can't say from where it comes then I'll just cry snake-oil and ignore you.

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1 comment:

Richard Veryard said...

Quite so. For my part, when I hear sales people making these claims, I just hope they don't know what they are talking about. If the innovation really were completely new, now that would be scary. Why would you trust an innovation if you couldn't trace the engineering history behind it?

See my post on Ungrounded Technology