Question

What one tech problem do you wish you could solve?

There was a question in Jason Fried's AMA about what he'd work on if he had unlimited time and resources—and he replied that he'd keep working on what he already does, with his team's focus on projects and email.

Which made me wonder: What would you work on if you could fix anything in tech?

What's the most annoying thing in software, or the software you wish existed, or the limitations that hold your work back? What do you wish you could focus 100% on and improve in tech?

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Kaka123's avatar
a year ago

Community Management. In this unprecedented times, we have bigger responsibility to engage of community of customers and partners to avoid customer churn and focus on engagement rather than customer acquisition. A complete suite of Community Management software would give the power to organisation big way!!

4 points
maxkardon's avatar
@maxkardon (replying to @Kaka123 )
a year ago

You should check out Bevy and Tribe!

1 point
Vlachbild's avatar
@Vlachbild (replying to @maxkardon )
a year ago

I would love to have something like tribe, but not company / profit centered. More for real-life local communities and preferably not expensive

1 point
NitinMurali1's avatar
@NitinMurali1 (replying to @Kaka123 )
a year ago

You should check out Mighty networks

1 point
colinohconnor's avatar
a year ago

Business is increasingly becoming global and there are significant constraints around communication. We see it with communication methods, frequencies and language barriers to understanding. I believe there is much higher potential than what we have today for global communication.

4 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @colinohconnor )
a year ago

This is a fascinating challenge across a number of areas. One, technical barriers. So many regions use different chat apps: WeChat in China, LINE in Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand, KakaooTalk in South Korea, and so on. You have to keep a half-dozen chat apps installed to keep up with people around the globe nowadays. Then, language barriers. One helpful part there, on writing anyhow, is voice messages. Google Translate-type services help for small things, but absolutely aren’t enough for even personal conversations, let alone business. Would be interesting though to see communication tools built specifically for these challenges.

2 points
miraiontoast's avatar
a year ago

Healthcare. 100% healthcare, starting with women's health.

I speak from the perspective someone who's been tracking her period for decades. It's ludicrously difficult to find a period tracker that isn't shovelware, bloated with ads, or does suspicious things with my data. Most of them are pinkwashed (why do I need happy blooming flowers every screen?) or assumes facts about me that are untrue (I'm not tracking my period for anything fertility-related).

My medical records are almost impossible to get. G-d forbid I switch medical providers, because good luck trying to extract that information. Why don't I own my xrays? Why is it stored locally in some clinic's basement? I paid for the blood test, why don't I get the actual data from it?

(Admittedly, this is a symptom of a broken industry and likely not a problem you can solve with software. Unless...?)

I'm gonna go back to periods for a minute because I've worked myself up now. I found some random period tracker on the App Store a while ago - tiny little thing with a large amount of teenage girls using their community feature.

There was zero moderation. None. People were telling blatantly untrue things about bodies to thirteen-year-olds.

Puberty sucks enough without misinformation. Healthcare sucks enough without people straight-up lying to you. And if I can't trust my software to do their jobs, then who can I trust?

3 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @miraiontoast )
a year ago

That’s terrifying. Researching medical info on the internet is scary enough, where seeming every symptom can be indicative of the worst. A community spreading incorrect ideas is almost worse since things coming from other people with real identities feels more trustworthy.

I recall this being an issue where even the Apple Health app overlooked women’s health in its original set of health tracking features.

And that’s an excellent point on medical records. I should know my blood type; I know my hospital has it on record. Yet I’d have to call them at least, make an appointment at worst to figure it out today. Seems like that should be as much a part of my data library as my photos and files.

1 point
mikestaub's avatar
a year ago

Digital ID. Imagine if we inverted the concept of the web, where users owned all their data and granted access to it to 3rd parties in a safe way via blockchain, data watermarks, and standard protocols. Billions of dollars of value would be unlocked and power would be given back to the individuals.

Basically just extending the concept of private property to the internet.

3 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @mikestaub )
a year ago

It’s wild how much of our digital identity is connect to our email addresses, and then how insecure that can be. If someone gets access to your email today, it’s basically game over. SMS based 2 factor authentically is almost equally at risk.

2 points
gustavmaskowitz's avatar
@gustavmaskowitz (replying to @mikestaub )
a year ago

Have a look at Dataswift.io. A friend is there now - they have built literally exactly this

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @gustavmaskowitz )
a year ago

Fascinating—nice to see them taking this challenge on. Feels like the hardest part will be getting products to adopt it!

1 point
ngaurav38's avatar
a year ago

I think the biggest thing that I would work on is a more effective tool or platform to address information overload and the effects that the 24/7 news cycle/social media cycle has on our mental health & well-being. Ultimately, social media has in most part been just rapid-fire newsfeeds, and not grounded in actually developing meaningful relationships or being a part of an atmosphere conducive to growth/learning/building real relationships. There's been some new vertical SM sites that are more tailored to an intimate/spontaneous approach to building relationships, like notably Clubhouse, but I think there are a lot more opportunities to build out platforms that enable depth in the building of relationships (unlike LinkedIn a lot of the times). The lack of authenticity in online communication contributes a lot to this, so that's also a component to consider in thinking about potential platforms/areas to consider.

3 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @ngaurav38 )
a year ago

Information overload is absolutely a problem. I’m actually looking forward to iOS 14’s option to hid certain home screens on specific days, hoping that’s a way to force disconnect a bit more. I also like what Nuzzle does to summarize top stuff shared in your Twitter feed so you can stay aware without seeing the same stuff over and again.

Even Slack and chat now has turned communications into this constant stream without time to think of what to reply. Twist has an interesting take there on a slower chat. Will be interesting to see how new teams approach this going forward, in hopefully trying to build more meaningful apps instead of simply more engaging apps.

1 point
vingar's avatar
a year ago

So many products promise a lot but fail to deliver or scale, because of poor onboarding, or for the gaps in the product experience.

I wish if we can standardize some of the tech design components that are interoperable and usable by any product team worldwide. For instance, the web standards and compliance-driven online forms that enforce a set of rules so that we can eliminate the reasons that break the product experience.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @vingar )
a year ago

Interesting: Bootstrap for onboarding, almost. This actually seems one challenge that could be solved more easily than many of the challenges in this thread!

1 point
caglar's avatar
a year ago

Even though a big part of me wants to focus on project management space, if I had unlimited time and resources, I would directly work on vertical farming. The vegetable production process has improved significantly in the last 50 years due to technological advancements.

But still, we're (1) not able to effectively use the same land each season via natural ways; instead, we're forced to make manual changes to get efficient results. (2) Due to the insects and some diseases, farmers are being forced to use drugs and poison. Along with all these, (3) we're still not as efficient as we can and using a large area for farming.

Of course, organic farming has many effects on the ecosystem - where I don't think it should be stopped anytime. But vertical farming allows us to make the production of some vegetables high quality, low cost, and efficient.

I think it would be a great alternative to organic farming for major cities with high population density or areas with inefficient soil; so that vegetables can be more accessible, and the transportation and maintenance costs would be eliminated from the equation, which in turn would help the nature.

2 points
awwstn's avatar
@awwstn (replying to @caglar )
a year ago

@caglar this is fascinating! Clearly I spend too much time in software land, because I first interpreted "vertical farming" as some sort of vertically integrated software solution for farming. Then I realized it's literally vertical farming. 😅

2 points
sailaja's avatar
a year ago

Would build tech to successfully convince the middle managers that "working remote" is a thing. Managers would often reject requests of employees to work from home, as there is no proper oversight to ensure work does not suffer. The CoVid 19 situation has done quite a bit in that direction by forcing everyone to adapt, however, I would build a suite of tools that would enable and empower employees to work remote and stay flexible while we keep the managers at peace by ensuring deadlines are met.

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @sailaja )
a year ago

Interesting, do you think the greatest challenges with getting teams to go remote are with the tools, or the mindset that work can only be done in the office? And what do you think is most lacking with current collaboration and project management tools?

From working on a number of remote teams, I think the greatest challenges are with hybrid teams where part of the team is in the office and part is remote. It can be handled well—but often ends up being where remote team members feel outsourced, and the growth opportunities are kept in-office. Solving the office + remote mix would be incredibly powerful.

1 point
awwstn's avatar
@awwstn (replying to @sailaja )
a year ago

@sailaja I agree with this. Way too much management is based on "time in chair", not actual output. Here's hoping the pandemic and the tools people are building right now start to improve that.

1 point
NBNite's avatar
a year ago

Accountability across the major social media platforms/ comment threads. I'm not 100% sure what the best way to attack this is, but I want to believe that if people couldn't hide hate language and disinformation behind a username or ID - and were forced to attach their real name on it each time that could be verified to that person - it would decrease the number of folks who spew this crap.

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @NBNite )
a year ago

You're absolutely right—and yet, I fear this may be the hardest to solve. Requiring real names at least does make people be more accountable, though it can marginalize people who for various reasons can't publish under their real identity. It's like, the promise of tech was to connect everyone and make it easier to connect with anyone, and the sad reality is that a scarily large portion of the world is simply not nice, more than willing to be uncivil when given the chance. The tragedy of the commons, digital style.

But solving online civility, and improving algorithms that promote content in social platforms, should be the eternal goal of every online platform. And if they don't clean up their act on their own, the odds are increasingly high of them being regulated into compliance in the future.

2 points
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