Not Lemonade

When life gives you lemons… make something else. Tell us about a time you used an object or resolved a tricky situation in an unorthodox way.

I wrote an answer to this a few days ago in the post I Would Do Anything… but if you fancy something more lighthearted then stay here.

One of the comments I remember from reading a lot of Steve Jobs’ obituaries was that he could sell you a product that fixed a problem you didn’t even know existed. Before the iPhone, no-one really had a problem with physical buttons and a tiny mobile screen. Apple invented a touch screen interface with gestures that now seem simple and ridiculously obvious. It came from asking why users could not do something and removing those barriers.

At work, my old team collect data on spreadsheets to input in to our online system. When I joined the team, we used to send back 9 out of 10 forms due to incomplete or incorrect data. If you simply look at the “what” and the “how” you can’t really see how to solve the problem – we had to use spreadsheets and users had to type in the data. It was only when we went to the users and they told us that the form was unintuitive, ugly and had little validation to help them out that we understood the reason for the poor performance. I spent 6 months redesigning the form and within a month of that we’d dropped our “bounce rate” from 90% to 10%.

It wasn’t an unorthodox solution – it was just the right one.

What was slightly unorthodox was how I fixed my leaking tap the other week. I’d watched some YouTube videos that basically said it was the easiest thing ever. I bought some new tools and proceeded to try to fix the tap. Turns out that the main mechanism was so jammed that I had to take the tap off the sink to loosen it. Job done, so time to put it back. It appears that the job was so bodged when the bathroom was initially plumbed that I couldn’t bodge it back, so I had to take my new hacksaw to the pipe and put a valve on it, removing the tap entirely.

But hey, it stopped leaking.

When you try your best, but you don’t succeed
When you get what you want, but not what you need
When you feel so tired, but you can’t sleep
Stuck in reverse
And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can’t replace
When you love someone, but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

Fix You by Coldplay

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