Friday, May 16, 2008

Bad pie

There is no better dessert than pie. Pie is an awesome concept--take a delicious fruit, sweeten it up so its even more delicious, then wrap it in a flaky crust. Serve warm or cold, with ice cream or whipped cream or nothing at all. It even gives you the illusion that its healthy (at least the fruit pies do). Pie is modest, an underdog, a totally underrated dessert. Its not as low on the totem pool as pudding or jello, but it certainly is standing in the shadow of cake, cookies, cupcakes and ice cream.

Which leads me to tonight. I've been working so much that I keep forgetting to eat. I'm leaving tomorrow for 6 days at a client meeting, and when dinner time rolled around we decided to try a new diner. When you walked in, the first thing you saw was the pastry counter to the right, to the left was the giant rotating glass display of cakes. No pies. But then, I spotted them, at least 12 pies in a glass display behind the counter. Before we even ordered, we had decided on pie for dessert.

Post-meal, we asked our waiter what kind of pie they had. He only named 3: apple, cherry, and blueberry. I was surprised; I had expected a delicious list of option. We opted for blueberry to share. The plate arrived, no acoutrements, but that was ok. I was so looking forward to every scrumptious bite.

To say this pie was bad is really understating the issue. This pie was the worst pie I have ever had. I kept taking bites, as if in denial that it was as gross as it was. The crust had a weird flavor to it and the filling was just blueberry syrup dotted with an occasional blueberry. I really wanted it to be good. I had built it up in my mind. But I eventually had to face the fact that my pie sucked.

I'm seeing the same pattern of denial with virtual worlds for enterprise. People want them to be awesome. They have high expectations and the technology is cool. It's flashy, it's sexy. People will hang on longer than they should to ideas or options that aren't going to work or be effective because they are in love with the idea of it. But just like pie, you still need to have the right ingredients for virtual worlds to work. You need to base future development on principles proven in the past to be effective.

When faced with it, you have to call a bad pie a bad pie and just walk away. But don't worry. There are plenty of delicious pies out there.

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