Are You Being Too Clever for Your Own Good?


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I travel a lot with work.

It is not glamorous. I’d love tell you that when I said I was in K.L. I meant Kuala Lumpur, but unfortunately it is far more likely to be Kings Lynn (for those of you who are not from the UK, Kings Lynn is sometimes, albeit unkindly, referred to as the arm pit of England).

I am far more train set than jet set.

I spend a lot of time on the train

And because I spend time on the train I also spend a large amount of time in train toilets. (Relax, this isn’t going where you think). The other day I had the misfortune to not lock the door properly and have somebody burst in on me. Fortunately I wasn’t, shall we say, busy, but it could have been more than embarrassing.

It was my fault, I admit it

But I have a defence. It was an electronically operated door with the worlds most complicated dashboard of buttons and lights. No doubt I had punched the lock button (which was sitting there blinking at me) rather more times than was absolutely necessary in an attempt to get it to work.

It wouldn’t have happened in the old days

The whole sorry incident wouldn’t have happened with an old-fashioned train door.

Locked or Not

Manual, low tech and with a pointer. No electronic wizardry.

Why do we love our whiz-bang gadgets?

Even though they are far more expensive and complicated than is strictly necessary. (Why exactly do I need an electric door anyway?)

So next time you are investing in an all singing all dancing whiz-bang solution just ask yourself… Is this really making the world a better place. Or am I just being too clever for my own good?

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Japanesse Toilet Control

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Republished with author's permission from original post.

James Lawther
James Lawther is a middle-aged middle manager. To reach this highly elevated position he has worked for many organisations, from supermarkets to tax collectors and has had multiple roles from running a night shift to doing operational research. He gets upset by operations that don't work and mildly apoplectic about poor customer service.


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