Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Matter of Priorities

By all accounts I have seen, the software system for Obama's 2012 reelection campaign worked flawlessly, in striking contrast to the opposition's. The computerized system for Obamacare, on the other hand, has been, again by all accounts I have seen, a complete mess.

Nice to know what matters.


Anonymous said...

one is pretty small and mostly in-house, and the other one is MASSIVE interfacing with many state and federal computer systems all of which are different and of different age.

also one of them is essentially a private enterprise and one of them is very much a government program, guess which one is which!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!irony

however there are plenty of obama loving hispter web designers who could probably make it work, O should let them have a go, after all those hipsters run his online election campaign for him.

Brian Dunbar said...

> however there are plenty of obama loving hispter web designers who could probably make it work,

Probably not.

The health care exchanges are a skyscraper. Web design is how the building looks, and what the visitor sees as he walks the halls.

The _problems_ are inside the building, in the HVAC, plumbing, electrical sub-systems.

Not to minimize the fine work done by web designers, but the scale and complexity of the system go far, far, beyond 'web design', and right into territory owned by systems administrators, developers, and network guys.

Source: for a dozen years I worked for a mid-sized manufacturer as a systems administrator for storage and ERP. Currently work for a eDiscovery SaaS organization.

Anonymous said...

hipsters have php, jsp, mysql know-how, some of them even run facebook and twitter...

handle said...

Come on people, what healthcare.gov does is a very simple process. You enter data in a webform, and it provides you with commercial options. It doesn't have to search amongst million of products, the exchanges are a very shallow market.

We're 20 years into internet commerce. I was using private health-insurance aggregator / quoting websites 8 years ago. There no good excuse for this.

Anonymous said...

off topic: one closer step in NSA running mind control/future crimes program http://www.theverge.com/2013/10/16/4842418/stanford-mind-reading-research-with-numbers

Brian Dunbar said...

> hipsters have php, jsp, mysql know-how

You're proving my point.

Brian Dunbar said...

@ handle
"There no good excuse for this."

I have no actual knowledge of _what_ the problem is.

But I suspect some aspect are the complexity involved dealing with 'the government', having a lot of stakeholders sticking their oar in, and complex and contradictory requirements in the ACA.

Anonymous said...

STAKEHOLDERS, i HATE that word, it goes against all economic logic for all stakeholders having a say in a matter!!!

Anonymous said...

Imagine how smoothly Amazon would operate if each site visitor had to enter all of his checkout information before he could begin shopping.

Gordon said...


There is economic logic for considering at least some "stakeholders", based upon concepts such as externalities or asset specificity in conjunction with the concept of incomplete contracts - not that such concepts are often used when stakeholders are discussed.

Eric Rasmusen said...

Since the front end look-and-feel of the Obamacare website is bad, we non-computer-designers can tell that the Obamacare designers didn't know what they were doing. If you can't even make the facade look nice, how can you possibly be competent to work on the complex stuff? In fact, not making the facade look nice (which is cheap) probably means you can't even tell high quality from low, and so could not do a good job even with unlimited funds.