Summary

Your latest Web 2.0 business idea might be cool. It might even make you rich. But it doesn't prove you're a genius.

Advanced Test Reactor

This article from Panodaily caught my eye and I had to post something about it. Here's the last paragraph:

What could Silicon Valley solve if entrepreneurs actually understood how Walmart’s supply chain worked, or UPS’s delivery logistics, or even why it’s so hard to provide a nutritious school lunch? What could we streamline if we had knowledge of the challenges and problems that currently plague these and other complex systems? The bottom line is that you can’t fix what you don’t understand, and with so little first hand experience working on big, real world problems, most young entrepreneurs don’t understand all that much.
From You can’t fix what you don’t understand | PandoDaily
Referenced Fri Jul 26 2013 21:43:06 GMT-0600 (MDT)

This article rang true for a number of reasons. When I was studying computer science, I often heard people say "operating systems are the most complex thing people have ever built." I'd just completed four years as a nuclear metallurgist for the Division of Naval Reactors, the agency that overseas all naval nuclear propulsion systems. I'd spent time in shipyards, crawling around the insides of aircraft carriers. I was pretty sure a nuclear aircraft carrier was more complex that any operating system I'd seen. The reactor alone is extremely complex, as you can imagine. Just the fuel assemblies were the product of tens of thousands of man-hours of research, testing, and design.

The point: building a new way to share videos—or whatever—and getting a bazillion users is cool and might make you rich, but it doesn't make you Einstein or anything. There are lots of people doing things that are harder and more complex. Computer geeks ought to take some time to understand some of them and why they're hard problems.

A Note On the Picture: This is a picture of Cherenkov radiation in the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR). I worked with the Advanced Test Reactor almost every day for four years. The ATR is unclassified and possibly one of the coolest irradiation research reactors in the world, capable of providing nine different irradiation environments simultaneously.