Naked Emperors in Tech

Some things we often repeat as truth just aren't. We should call bullshit more often.

reflections tech Posted:

In Hans Christen Andersen's classic tale, two swindlers trick an Emperor by saying their clothes that are invisible to those who are stupid or incompetent. Everybody sees the Emperor is naked, but nobody says anything, until a child blurts out the simple fact that the emperor is wearing nothing at all. Then the silence is broken and everyone realizes that everyone else was seeing what they were seeing.

There are a lot of Naked Emperors in Tech.

Mostly, these take the form of widely repeated beliefs that are oversimplified (or at least, no longer true). Sometimes these are factual statements that turn out factually wrong. Sometimes these are opinions overstated as fact. Sometimes the cause is schlep blindness. Sometimes these are implicit beliefs - unstated, unconscious, but designed into our products anyway. What makes them Naked Emperors is just somebody visibly pointing out nakedness, and then the lie being retrospectively obvious all along.

Here is a short list I have, with their respective bullshit calls:

What other Naked Emperors are parading around out there, too naked for me to even see?


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