healthcare.gov

As an information technology professional, when a web site has performance problems, I sigh, gnash my teeth, and gripe just like everyone else. However, twenty minutes later I realize I have been there and feel bad for those having to deal with the mess. Also, should I feel hurt that I am not among the nation’s brightest IT minds since I was not asked to help?

GeorgiaVIEW, one of the projects on which I work, has about four thousand active users on average and with topping out around 5-6 thousand week days and eight during an abnormal event. When users are having problems, they tend to come back which gives them a new session yet the old one has not expired, so the system deals with more and more sessions compounding a performance problem. Some of the descriptions people gave about having problems with healthcare.gov sounded like they came back over and over trying to enter.

The most annoying thing about the healthcare.gov problems though are the pundits. Early on, I heard they should have hired Silicon Valley companies to build the site as though IT people only come from there. They specifically named companies famous for their high profile meltdowns to build the health care exchange as experts in building huge sites without problems. Later came the small companies who build web sites for others, but not at this scale.

It is extremely difficult to build a site to the perfect scale. Overbuilding is expensive, so there is pressure to scale back. Business workflows are murky at best because until people use it, they really are unsure what it is they want. (They just know what was built is not right and why.)

TED Talk: Mike Rowe celebrates dirty jobs

Michael Kopp posted about “If someone is trying to make you stay in your job – leave“. There are lots of other quotes the site to where he pulled the quote with the theme of a job must provide value is the sense of being a motivator through the challenges it provides and the growth we get from doing it. Once that growth ceases or we are being held back by others, we ought to move on to a job which will be a challenge.

It reminded me of the Mike Rowe TED Talk below. (Transcript and interesting terms below the video.)

This is from the transcript.

So I started to wonder what would happen if we challenged some of these sacred cows. Follow your passion — we’ve been talking about it here for the last 36 hours. Follow your passion — what could possibly be wrong with that? Probably the worst advice I ever got. (Laughter) You know, follow your dreams and go broke, right? I mean, that’s all I heard growing up. I didn’t know what to do with my life, but I was told if you follow your passion, it’s going to work out.

… We’ve declared war on work, as a society, all of us. It’s a civil war.  It’s a cold war, really. We didn’t set out to do it  and we didn’t twist our mustache in some Machiavellian way,  but we’ve done it.  And we’ve waged this war on at least four fronts, certainly in Hollywood. The way we portray working people on TV,  it’s laughable. If there’s a plumber, he’s 300 pounds and he’s got a giant buttcrack, admit it.  You see him all the time.  That’s what plumbers look like, right? We turn them into heroes, or we turn them into punchlines.  That’s what TV does. We try hard on Dirty Jobs not to do that, which is why I do the work and I don’t cheat.

We’ve waged this war on Madison Avenue. So many of the commercials that come out there in the way of a message, what’s really being said? Life would be better if you could work a little less. If you didn’t have to work so hard. If you could get home a little earlier, if you could retire a little faster, if you could punch out a little sooner. It’s all in there, over and over, again and again.

Washington? I can’t even begin to talk about the deals and policies in place that affect the bottom-line reality of the available jobs ’cause I don’t really know. I just know that that’s a front in this war.

And right here, guys; Silicon Valley. How many people have an iPhone on ’em right now? How many people have their Blackberries? We’re plugged in, we’re connected. I would never suggest for a second that something bad has come out of the tech revolution. Good grief, not to this crowd. But I would suggest that innovation without imitation is a complete waste of time. And nobody celebrates imitation the way Dirty Jobs guys know it has to be done. Your iPhone without those people making the same interface, the same circuitry, the same board over and over – all that, that’s what makes it equally as possible as the genius that goes inside of it.

And so we’ve got this new tool box. Our tools today don’t look like shovels and picks, they look like the stuff we walk around with. And so the collective effect of all of that has been this marginalization of lots and lots of jobs.

My father encouraged me to go to school and get a degree so my choices in life did not limit to things like digging ditches (his favorite unskilled labor example). He made me do manual labor to see that it was not something I would like. Any time my grades were poor he would put me to work as a “preparation for my future life” but really as a motivator to work harder in school.

Dirty jobs were punishment to me. Guess that is why I enjoy my cubicle.

The twin testicles on Mike Rowe’s chin….

  • Anagnorisis is a moment in a play or other work when a character makes a critical discovery.
  • Peripeteia is a reversal of circumstances, or turning point.