Quote of the day–Aravind Seshadri

You know how to get a solution? First you create a problem.

Aravind Seshadri
April 15, 2009
[One of my favorite things about working at Microsoft is that I am surrounded by smart people–very smart people. Also knowing that some of the software I write will be used by, literally, a BILLION people is really, really cool. That and being part of the Borg means we get to rule the galaxy.

So, yesterday Aravind, Hiep, and I were discussing our plans for domination of the galaxy when Aravind told us the above. I burst out into laughter as my mind went flying into all the different directions implied by those two sentences. Here is a sample:

  • Before you can solve a problem you have to define (create) it. Once it is accurately defined you can much more easily solve it.

  • Most businesses sell “solutions”. The grocery store sells you a solution to your hunger problem, the electric company sells you a solution to your energy problem, etc. Before you can sell anything new you have to create a problem. Before there were telephones did the people know they had a communication problem? Before there were cars did the people know there was a transportation problem? Before there were diamond engagement rings did people know there was token of commitment problem? We create problems in people’s minds so they will buy our solutions. This applies to (perhaps especially in) politics, and personal relationships, as well as the business world.

  • If you have a problem in “Area A” you may be able to solve it by creating a problem in “Area B”. For example, a scumbag is causing you discomfort by threating you with a knife and you want a solution to your discomfort. You create a fluid retention problem for him by inserting multiple jacketed hollow points into his thoracic cavity. You now have your solution.

  • And my favorite, “There is no problem the proper application of high explosives can’t solve.”



2 thoughts on “Quote of the day–Aravind Seshadri

  1. Well now; not every solution has come from a manufactured problem. The food business is certainly one that arose from a generally well-understood problem, necessity being the mother of invention and all. I prefer to think that some people are just better at seeing, isolating and understanding a pre-existing problem. Convincing others that they have the problem, and that you have the solution, is another matter.

    Some men over the millennia have had the problem of getting a mate. That someone realized it could be a token of commitment problem and set out to solve it, does not necessarily mean he invented the problem out of thin air and then falsely promoted it. Could be he simply realized what other men failed to see– that women can at times be greatly influenced by such things (personally I believe it was a woman’s idea, but I’ll refrain from getting into a long discussion of Darwinian theory. Suffice it to say that other species use token giving as a mating ritual).

    And there’s the famous quote; There aren’t many problems that a man can’t fix, with seven hundred dollars and a .30-06.

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