Results-Based Accountability (RBA) and Outcomes-Based Accountability (OBA)


In a nutshell: Inferior products that sap the world's productivity.

December 11, 2011
Letter to the Editor Discover Magazine

In the Jan/Feb 2012 issue of Discover, David H. Freedman argues in his article "The Man Who Gave Us Less For More" that Apple pushed the tech industry "away from products that deliver the best features and performance for the buck." Freedman's calculation of "performance for the buck" seems to include only the ratio of cost to processing capacity. It does not take into account the effect of actual product performance on worker productivity. Two years ago I realized that I was wasting at least 10 minutes per day waiting for a Windows PC to do something. In an informal survey, many of my friends and co-workers report similar experience. In contrast, my Macbook Pro requires little or no waiting time. 10 minutes per day equates to 7.6 eight hour work days per year. It is estimated that there are over one billion personal computers in use today, the vast majority of which are Windows PC's. If each one of them is creating productivity loss at the same rate, this represents over 20 million person-years of annual lost productivity worldwide.  This broader view of product performance needs to be factored into Freedman's "performance for the buck" calculation.

Mark Friedman
Santa Fe, NM

January 2, 2012: OK it just never stops.......

Jan 2012: Pages numbers fail to print in Microsoft Word: I'm working on getting out a 185 page manuscript. And Word fails to print the page number on 29 of the pages (29 of 185 is15.7%) . Here are the page numbers: 12, 14, 22, 24, 33, 36, 44, 47, 50, 53, 58, 63, 66, 70, 75, 81, 88, 91, 93, 101, 107, 112,125, 129, 137, 143, 157, 163, 172. I challenge you to find any pattern in this. Why did the page numbers fail to print? Because it's a Microsoft product. YOU LITERALLY CAN'T COUNT ON MICROSOFT. I spent about 20 minutes going through the pages and handwritingin the page numbers. Chalk up more lost productivity to Microsoft.

Jan 2012: Microsoft Excel command structure makes it hard to figure out how to erase cells: I'm trying to help my sister figure out how to erase a range of cells in a worksheet. We try highlight the range and hitting the delete key. That doesn't work. We try Ctrl X and that doesn't work. Finally we go to the edit dropdown menu, highlight the cells and hit "delete." AND THAT DOESN'T WORK EITHER. Three commonsense methods that don't work in Excel. Do you want to know how to do it. You have to go to the edit dropdown menu and select CLEAR, and then click on a submenu choice of ALL. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WHY DID MICROSOFT HAVE TO MAKE THAT SIMPLE ACTION SO CONFUSING? More lost productivity and higher blood pressure. Thanks Bill.



1. My computer program shuts down for no good reason and I lose hour's worth of data entry and writing.

2. Microsoft Word "stops responding." Overall computer performance slows down and computer must be restarted.

3. Adobe Photoshop and other Microsoft and non-Microsoft products "stop responding." The computer must be restarted.

4. You can't cut and paste a page from a Word document into Powerpoint, both Microsoft products.

5. There is no easy way to identify and remove unnecessary programs that automatically start with your computer and slow its performance.

6. The desktop arrangement of icons changes by itself and it takes extra time to find and start programs.

7. Program messages keep popping up and can not be removed.

8. There is no easy way to set your search screens to always show the detailed lists of your files.

9. Windows sometimes decides to install updates when the computer shuts down whether you want it to or not. This always happens when you are late leaving for the airport.

10. The computer slows down because there are extraneous programs running in the background.... and Microsoft provides no easy way to tell which programs are necessary and which are not..... and most can't be removed through the add/remove program menu.

11. The computer went into an endless loop installing a Windows update at 2 of 2. (I'm not making this up.) Microsoft needs an update to fix the Windows update routine.

12.This website was written in Microsoft Frontpage (hoping to convert soon to Dreamweaver). Among other things, Frontpage won't let me control the color of hyperlink text which is sometimes dark blue and sometimes light blue.

and so on and so forth....

All in all, I lose at least 10 minutes every day due to Microsoft software deficiencies.....which comes to 2.5 days per year!!!!! Think about how many years of lost productivity there is in the world because of Microsoft deficiencies!

Note: When  I checked (in 2008 or 2009), "Why I hate Microsoft" generated 15,800,000 hits on Google. Didn't take the time to find out where this page ranks. "Why I hate Walmart" only generated 1,940,000 hits. Microsoft is hated an order of magnitude more than Walmart. Amazing.
In May 2011, about two years later, "Why I hate Microsoft" generated 40,400,000 hits on Google and "Why I hate Walmart" generated 21,900,000. Microsoft hits increased by a multiple of 2.56. Walmart's hits increased by a multiple of 11.3. Walmart is catching up but is still only half as hated as Microsoft. Both are the same order of magnitude as "Why I hate Osama bin Laden 65,400,000 and "Why I hate the devil" 77,000,000.

In November, 2009, I finally got an Apple Macbook Pro. I love it. When you turn it on it works right away! You can get the program Parallels which allows you to run all Microsoft products including Word and Powerpoint.... and here's the kicker. They run better on the Mac than on a PC. Macs have no annoying popup screens and messages. Once you get the hang of it, it's pretty intuitive. I have a few minor complaints about the Mac, but I'm NEVER going back to a pc.

Here is the classic piece about Microsoft that circulates regularly through email:

 At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated, "If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon."      

In response to Bill's comments, General Motors issued a press release stating:   If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:

 1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash........ twice a day.                                                                                                                                                                                                           

 2. Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to buy a new car.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

 3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off 

 the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue. For some reason you would simply accept this.                                                                                                                                                                                     

 4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to  

 reinstall the engine.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

 5. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive - but would run on only five 

 percent of the roads.                                                                                                                               


 6. The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single "This Car Has Performed An Illegal Operation" warning



 7. The airbag system would ask "Are you sure?" before deploying.                                                                                     


 8. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle,    

 turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.                                                                                               


 9. Every time a new car was introduced car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the 

 same manner as the old car.                                                                                                                         


 10. You'd have to press the "Start" button to turn the engine off.                                                                                  

(Note the awkward spacing in this last piece is also courtesy of Microsoft.)