But why can’t it do that…?

Saturday I picked up the latest update for our local (paper) phone directory. On the way home I started thinking about how I would explain the need for this to my 2 1/2 year old daughter: “you see, the phone can’t know everyone’s phone number, so we have to look it up in there and type it into the phone manually”.
It quickly struck me how silly it was: we can do all sorts of complicated stuff – fly to the moon, decode the human genome – but we can’t implement a directory in a phone??? Not even mentioning that this might be a terribly good business opportunity for someone.
Maybe this can be generalised for all things software development: if you can’t reasonably explain it to your kids, it’s maybe time to rethink what you’re doing, just in case.

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