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Argument in favor of Ddulites

Mark Palko defines a Ddulite as follows:

A preference for higher tech solutions even in cases where lower tech alternatives have greater and more appropriate functionality; a person of ddulite tendencies.

Though Ddulites are the opposite of Luddites with respect to attitudes toward technology, they occupy more or less the same point with respect to functionality.

As a sometime Luddite myself (no cell phone, tv, microwave oven, etc.), I should in fairness point out the logic in favor of being a Ddulite. Old technology is typically pretty stable; new technology is improving. It can make sense to switch early (before the new technology actually performs better than the old) to get the benefits of being familiar with the new technology once it does take off.


  1. Mark Palko says:

    In the sense of being early adopters, ddulites are a net good for the society. They pour lots of money into R&D and help us over the adoption hump (these are the people who buy the first telephone), Furthermore, there are situations where jumping on a new piece of technology is a smart bet.

    On the other hand, if we’re talking a CEO abandoning a profitable business model to get in on the next big thing or a bureaucrat spending scarce resources on a technology that is nowhere near ready to handle the job, ddulites can do more damage than good.

  2. John Mashey says:

    In doing R&D management, handling technology diffusion processes, helping market advanced products and worrying about product life-cycles, the widely-understood Everett-Rogers scheme seems to fit pretty well:

    early adopters
    early majority
    late majority
    laggards [Luddites]

    Note: the first 3 are where I’ve spent most of my sales-support efforts.
    Government lab came to visit SGI. I explained our big multiprocessor systems.
    Them: oh, we know those, they work and they’re already in production.
    What do have that doesn’t quite work yet?
    Me: how about a cluster of them, hooked together with some somewhat flakey fibre-optic rings and some experimental networking software to make them work together?
    Them: Yes!

    [Explanation: government labs usually have groups who are supposed to try out bleeding-edge technology, and have pots of money than cannot be spent on stable, production-grade systems.]

    Serious R&D management manages progressive commitment via an R&D funnel.

    I’ve worked for several CEOs and have known more. With rare exceptions, (see Osborne Effect, computing people think *very* hard about product transitions and life-cycles in both hardware and software.

  3. Wayne says:

    This Ddulite tendency is not just with technology, but also with design and analysis. I spent many years in software development and my biggest weakness was over-engineering. The guy in the next cubical might look at a task, decide that he should do it manually, and then spend 3 hours doing it, while I would design and code a program to handle it, taking 6 hours to get it all working. If that same task popped up down the road, I’d be done in 5 minutes while it would take the other guy 3 hours, but out of the gate I took twice as long.

    Most of the time, my small-scale automated system didn’t get a second use. Though in my defense, on large projects my over-engineering held its own or won out over designs that were narrowly focused on the (current) specs.

    Perhaps you’re a Luddite in your personal environment, but a Ddulite in terms of your analysis or workplace?

  4. Steve S. says:

    It’s not innovative when cleverness overrules usefulness; that’s just narcissism.

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