Version 2 – Now with Chipotle

Have you noticed that chipotle is the new baking soda. Back in the 90’s, you couldn’t turn on the TV without seeing a commercial talking about how they added baking soda to make the product better. Crest toothpaste – now with baking soda. Try our laundry detergent – now with baking soda. Goodyear tires – now with baking soda. Arm & Hammer Baking Soda – now with even more baking soda!

Well, today, chipotle is the new baking soda. You can’t turn on the TV without seeing a commercial talking about how they added chipotle to their chicken/steak/hamburgers/barbecue/broccoli. Although I haven’t eaten out much recently, the idea is that chipotle will give the food an extra kick of flavor that will delight you.

When I was writing software in the 90’s, I used to talk about advertising our next version of software as “Version 2 – now with baking soda”. But, since we’re living in the year 2008 where chipotle is the next big thing, I’m recommending that you add it instead. That begs the question, “How?”

Now that I’m doing some private contract work, my work attitude has changed considerably. I’m no longer working for a large, bloated, cash-laden company. It’s not like I didn’t give every company my best ideas and effort, it’s just that an environment like that tends to have long development cycles, lots of waiting for specs and testing, etc. In other words, it often lacks a sense of urgency and a sense of true ownership and responsibility. Now that I’m working for a friend, I have a renewed sense of all of these. One thing that this is leading me to do is add chipotle to my software.

When I first sat down to talk about the application I’d be working on, I had tons of ideas, but wanted to make sure that I could continuously send software updates to keep my client aware of my progress. I also knew that this was a first release and that my client didn’t want to spend a fortune on it. On the other hand, a first impression is a lasting one, whether it’s your software in front of a customer, or your work for your client. So, I regularly send updates and when I do this, I outline a list of the new functionality I’ve added and ensure that everything works well. In addition, I try to add a little chipotle with every update. Sure, it’s supposed to show something on the screen when this happens, but isn’t that dialog sharp looking? Sure, it’s going to have standard printing functionality, but how about this special option that automatically does some setup that will save you tons of time?

When you’re working on someone else’s dime, it adds pressure to stay focused on task. It means not wasting time (or at least not charging the customer for it). It means adding some chipotle, especially if it doesn’t cost the customer anything extra.