In today’s news, a BBC story emerges: French Ain babies: Missing limb births prompt national inquiry.
This is so sad! And it’s a story that we need to follow carefully here in the U.S. as well, on its own merit.
But now I’m going to go off on a bent.
Reid Hoffman. Founder of LinkedIn. Famously made the statement (which I’ve railed against at every opportunity): “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”
For years, I’ve been saying that the problem with this statement, this philosophy, obvious to the most casual observer, is that it is infective. It’s contagious. Why just the first version of the product? Why not the second one too? You still have to beat your competitors on the development curve, don’t you? You have to get those new features into the market, or they will.
Problem: you don’t have time to fix what’s wrong with release 1 before release 2 comes out. You don’t have time to fix either release 1 or release 2 problems before release 3 comes out.
In short, you have these products with the same problems dating all the way back to their initial launch, that sometimes do not get resolved (obviously they may not be show-stoppers, so much as frustrations, limitations, things that require workarounds or corollary products to address the deficiencies), maybe ever.
I’ve watched this trend in Microsoft Office, in QuickBooks, in Gmail, and others.
But I never considered that it may be applicable to life sciences as well. Medicine. Drugs. Implants. Testing and/or therapeutic equipment. I’m forced to wonder, in the context of the above article, whether this is one of those cases. Obviously the cause of these birth defects is not yet known. Or rather, not yet publicly known. My guess is that there is someone who knows. Someone who might have known that this could happen, but chose not to or was told not to or was not in a position to be able to release that information. The truth will out.
Meanwhile: One-Third Of New Drugs Had Safety Problems After FDA Approval. After! One-third! These products have been withdrawn from the market, or warnings or new usage guidelines have been issued, or they have been revised or reformulated, etc.
So as that old saying goes, “Why is there always time to do it over, but never enough time to do it right?”
Maybe – now that we could be talking about babies, and not just computer programs – maybe people will stop and take that time to do it right the first time. There are no re-do’s in life.