I’m working on the tech slides for our presentation deck today. The purpose is to demonstrate that not only do we have something (and we do =), but that it’s easier to buy us than to rebuild us. This got me thinking about what influences how easy or hard it is to reverse engineer a thing. Here’s what struck me as true.

1. It’s straightforward to reverse engineer an existing product feature. The cost of doing so varies in direct proportion to the opacity and complexity of the feature.

2. It’s more difficult to reverse engineer existing workflow as embodied in code (e.g. a pipeline) as it requires knowledge of the pipeline’s foundations as well as an understanding of the nuances of its implementation. Lacking the nuances, you’ll repeat the mistakes of others; lacking the foundations, you’ll go horribly astray. The cost of doing so varies in direct proportion to your knowledge of the process, its basis and nuances, and your experience in working with it and its variations.

3. Most difficult is to reverse engineer strategy, which can be considered as the implicit fundamental knowledge and intent in which a product’s features and workflow are grounded. The cost of doing this varies in direct proportion to your insight into the mind(s) formulating and executing that strategy.

You are not your product. You are not your workflow. You are your ideas.

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17 July 2007


business publicsquare technology thinking