An Optimist uses a Pessimist’s Wi-Fi

“What’s your Wi-Fi password?” the optimist asked the pessimist.

“It’s threenines,” replied the pessimist.

“Great, I’m on. Let me show you this web app I just made,” said the optimist.

“It looks fantastic! It sure loaded quickly. Your Lighthouse score must be high,” the pessimist said encouragingly.

“Yep, we have 100s across the board. We’ve done everything to make this a quick user experience while also having an amazing developer experience,” said the optimist proudly.

“What happens if I tap this and then this?” The pessimist reached over and tapped the optimist’s screen twice.

“Huh, you changed two filters but it’s showing the result from just applying the first tap, that’s weird. I’ll file it as a bug my team can look at next week,” the optimist said with a sing song in their voice like finding new bugs was like finding new Pokemon.

“Share me the link and I’ll have a look on my phone,” asked the pessimist to the optimist. The optimist happily obliged.

The pessimist pulled out their phone. “You carry around that cheap thing?” exclaimed the optimist, “Surely on your income you can afford a better phone than that?”

“This phone has helped me make really fast and reliable web apps,” replied the pessimist. “Look, the link you sent me took me to the search results page but didn’t apply the filters. I’m seeing all results.”

“Another bug for Monday morning,” said the optimist.

“I just created a listing. I was feeling a little impatient so I tapped the Create button a few times and it created multiple listings.”

“That one might be for Tuesday,” said the optimist sounding a little less optimistic.

“And look here, on even minutes my Wi-Fi starts dropping packets randomly and your dashboard didn’t load properly,” the pessimist stretched out their hand to show their phone’s screen to the optimist.

The optimist pushed the phone to the side. “Why do you use that old slow thing? Here, try mine.”

The pessimist took the optimist’s phone, tapped several times and invited a look at the same broken dashboard. “Nope, it’s nothing to do with the device,” the pessimist said, “it’s the network. You can’t rely on the network being 100% reliable just like you can’t rely on a bus running on time or always being available. Sometimes buses get caught in traffic jams or break down or too many drivers are out sick. It’s the same with making apps for the internet — things don’t always work. So you better plan for that accordingly: by expecting the network to break you actually make your apps more robust and reliable. And you’ll have fewer bugs to fix.”

The optimist looked resigned. “You always make pessimism sound so positive. Next time let’s meet at my house and you’ll see how great tech really is.”

“I’m not a pessimist, I’m a realist. It’s like doing high-altitude training. By building for typically slow devices on typically spotty networks I ensure what I make works for typical people. By building in the best possible circumstances odds are the experience you made is great for people with similarly ideal set ups but worse for everyone else.”

“OK, I believe you. I’ll talk to my team about changing our approach. But you’ve really got to see my smart home system. I got rid of last year’s junk and upgraded everything,” said the optimist.