The purpose of my question is to help me better understand the philosophy behind the development process, where long term planning is discarded. The purpose of my current post is not to criticize, but to get a better understanding of one aspect of American thinking, regardless of the field, where it is applied. Basically, I'm asking You to correct me.
As of 2018_06_13 I have an impression that in America there seem to be a belief that if a person has "sufficiently much" money, anything that the humanity has ever invented, is accessible to it. That statement would be a total fallacy in Estonia, North-Eastern Europe, where I'm from. For example, when the Soviet Union fell, Estonians swapped the Russian/Soviet currency, rubles, to Estonian native currency, (the native currency was swapped to Euros in 2011) but despite the fact that the rubles did not buy much in the environment of goods deficiencies, the amount of rubles that each person was ALLOWED TO CONVERT to the new currency was LIMITED. This meant that all savings, which were in cash, as banking was crappy at best, that were above that limit, turned out to be literally worthless. People ended up owning their hard earned savings, sometimes a shoe box full of rubles, as souvenirs. Later some people literally used the rubles as wall paper decorations, because why to spend valuable Estonian currency for extra wall paper, when there is a shoe box full of worthless bills. The conversion limit was so low that even most of the poorest of Estonians hit the cap/limit. While the rubles were still in circulation, people literally bought ANYTHING THAT THEY COULD GET from shops, because almost anything that one could get from a shop was more valuable than a shoe box full of worthless money bills.
What regards to goods deficiencies at that time period, early nineties, late eighties, roughly around 1990, then there was a special Estonian word for a product that was hard to get: "defitsiit". Sugar was rationed, with food stamps, except that those food stamps did not replace money, they were only in a role of a one-time ticket that gave a permission to BUY sugar. That is to say, to buy sugar, one had to pay the full price for the sugar and have the single use ticket, the food stamp, for buying the sugar.
What regards to investments, then the story of my ancestors is that people invested in real estate, built themselves a shop so that they could live off of that at old age, but the shop was blown to pieces during the World War 2 and all the rest of the real estate got robbed by the communists. So, historically, being "rich" in Estonia is a really temporary thing and does not give any guarantees. Even having "a lot of" money is not a sufficient safety net in Estonia. Money is necessary, needed, but NOT SUFFICIENT.
From that historical Estonian perspective the American notion that there's no need for any long-term planning, no need to think ahead, as long as You've got "enough" money, You're OK, is quite an extreme form of thinking. The Estonian style of thinking is rather that things need to be DUPLICATED and LONG LASTING, because things get destroyed, lost and the acquisition of new tools/things/equipment/assets is not always possible. Extra food storage allowed Estonians to better cope with the World War 2 era "economic situation", fine tools from the 1. republic era mitigated the lack of proper tools during the immediate post WW2 era, when the industry of the Soviet Union was crappy at best. Imagine, if You were to be deported to cold Siberian wilderness, where people literally died of hunger, executions by Russian soldiers and lack of medical care, and You were wearing some cheap, shoddy, footwear or cloghing that just falls apart. The Estonians, who were deported to Siberia(and often died there), picked the best, the most reliable, things to take with them that they could find at their household. RELIABILITY MATTERED!
But the Americans seem to believe that they always have everything available to them, as long as they have enough money. Even the (British?) Titanic had life boats for the 1. class passengers. In contrast, I as an Estonian tend to think that what gets actually done, does not depend so much on money. There is a necessity for some money, but it's not the primary impediment. Rather, what gets actually done depends on what people actually DO and how the fruits of that activity are preserved. In that sense software is a particularly nice product. All it takes to give everyone an opportunity to use the Software is to copy files. Development costs of software are sky-high, if not in money, then in work hours, but the production costs of software is usually pretty cheap, specially at the 2018 Internet era. Putting those thoughts together, I arrive at an idea that wouldn't it be nice, if Software could be used over longer time period, RELIABLY. Yet, that's in stark contrast to the way things are done in America, as illustrated by an answer that I received to one of my bug reports(archival copy).
I do know that it IS POSSIBLE to write applications software that has fancy features, is complex, and works for 20 years or longer. My first job as a software developer was at a team, where we were dedicated to the development of one such software product. It was scientific software for biologists. We literally planned features with about 2 year look ahead AND DELIVERED. I worked 50% of the time during school year and "full time" during summers, but the other members of the team worked on that very software "full time". The 2 year out look was not due to us counting our weekends, but that was with a tough schedule where people were dedicated to only that single project. So, I DO KNOW FROM PRACTICE that IT IS POSSIBLE TO DEVELOP SOFTWARE THAT IS USABLE OVER A LONG TIME PERIOD. We never broke backwards compatibility of our internal scripting language. The changes to the language were done so that all old scripts kept on working without modification. I know FROM PRACTICE that IT IS POSSIBLE TO PLAN THINGS AHEAD and THINK THINGS THROUGH without causing critical flaws. If we would have really ruined the language specification and needed to fix it, then we probably would have supplied a translator for the scripts, so that our clients WOULD NOT TAKE A HIT. That team consisted of Estonians and Germans. But, in America, where Java and C# are being developed, it's a totally different story. Oracle head architect of the Java language tells publicly, how they will break the compatibility by changing Java stdlib. All of that, while boasting, how importand and widely used the Java language is. A totally different culture, different value structure.
That got me thinking that may be there's more in the American thinking than just the belief that one can get anything with sufficient amount of money. In my view the idea that experimenting a lot and failing quickly to quickly find the solutions that work seems to work only as long as the large amount of experimentation is guided by thinking things thoroughly through, because otherwise the number of experiments and their resource use, call it burn rate if You will, gets so high that the working solutions are not reached, if at all, then at least within some affordable time frame. That is to say, I find that experimenting a lot and failing quickly is the right thing to do, PROVIDED THAT those failures are TRUE FAILURES, not failures that come from lack of calculation, lack of planning, lack of rigor. With all of that in mind, my main question is:
Do Americans believe that doing a lot of experiments and failing quickly even if the experiments were not very carefully planned is a way to reach technically working solutions quickly or is the belief in the American thinking that it's OK for a project to burn through all of its money without reaching technically working solutions, because in the environment of abundance some other project with its own money pile can pick up, where the closed project left off, and continue the series of experiments till a technically working solution is found? Or is there some other reason for preferring the short term view to long term planning?Please post Your answer(s) to the #random channel.
Thank You for reading my post
and thank You for Your answers.
P.S. I also have a similarly themed blog post titled:
"Why Freelance Software Developers Should not use the Java Programming Language, rant_x01"