Monday, November 17, 2008

“Boiling the Frog”

A laboratory experiment was purported to have been carried out in which a frog was boiled to death – semi-voluntarily.

In the experiment, a frog was placed in water, initially at room temperature. The temperature was raised, very slowly, until finally the temperature was high enough to kill the frog (poor froggy..!).

The conclusion was that if very small, incremental changes are made to one’s environment, we may not notice these changes – even if the aggregate sum of the changes is large, overall.

This same concept can be applied to demos… We may create a demo for version 1.0 of a new product – a demo that is crisp and focused – but the addition of new capabilities, multiple new versions, modules, add-ons, etc., may yield a demo that incrementally becomes complex, confusing, and too detailed. We have effectively boiled ourselves…!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

According to Snopes the frog story is fiction:
From the article:
"The legend is entirely incorrect! The 'critical thermal maxima' of many species of frogs have been determined by several investigators. In this procedure, the water in which a frog is submerged is heated gradually at about 2 degrees Fahrenheit per minute. As the temperature of the water is gradually increased, the frog will eventually become more and more active in attempts to escape the heated water. If the container size and opening allow the frog to jump out, it will do so."

This has been repeated as fact so many times in so many contexts that I don't fault you and I agree with your main point. Nevertheless thanks for inspiring my curiosity.