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American Upgrade Idiot

April 27, 2012

Upgrading software is a little like buying a new record. And when I write “record,” I mean a sonic recording like MP3’s, CD’s, cassettes, 8-tracks and of course, 78’s. One afternoon last century, two business partners and I met with a retired record executive at his home in Camden, ME. Herb Belkin was a cool guy with some great stories. As we talked music, Herb shared his opinion that a band’s first record would usually be their best. That’s where the best of all the songs they’d written up to that point would land. Subsequent releases, Herb believed, would not have the impact of that first set because the songwriting would be sub-par compared to the first. Lately I’ve been working my way through Pearl Jam’s catalog. Their debut, “Ten” from 1991 is etched into my brain. A classic. As I get into their sophomore effort, “Vs.” it’s taking some getting used to. It’s different. It’s unfamiliar. Just like new features in a software upgrade.

Thanks to Kathy Sierra's Creating Passionate Users blog.

Yesterday I got a new laptop with Windows 7 on it. I’ve been using XP for years and while I’m sure the engineers over at Microsoft worked hard at making it easier to use, more functional, and more intuitive, I’m having some challenges. It’s making me feel like I don’t know how to use a computer anymore. It’s different. It’s unfamiliar. I feel like an idiot.

I’ve had no training on it.

The engineers at Kronos worked hard at making our new Workforce Central 6.3 easier to use, more functional, and more intuitive. One of our early adopter customers said of the “Navigator” user interface, “Kronos has brought together consumer-inspired intelligence and ease to our otherwise highly complex processes.” Still, it’s different. It’s unfamiliar. Fortunately…

We have training for it.

KnowledgePass provides on-demand training and quick reference job-aids to quickly get users productive with Navigator and all other new features of Workforce Central 6.3! Yeah, it’s cool.

Subsequent releases of software are typically better than version 1.0, and occasionally Herb Belkin’s theory on later records is proven wrong. Take Green Day’s “American Idiot.” The 2004 release was their 7th, and I think their best. Tracks 1-13 are genius on a Pete Townshend level. In fact, my favorite track is the last one, “Whatsername.” Hey, it’s Friday. Rock out.

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