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Delayed gratification or not?


Delayed gratification or not?

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bkubicek
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Delayed gratification or not?
Dave Poole
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I'd say delayed gratification makes financial sense. Using HDTV as an example. When they 1st came out I could have bought one on credit but I didn't, I saved up. By the time I had enough money the price had come down, the quality and screen size had gone up. Had I gone in early I would have paid over the odds for an inferior product and still be paying for it now.

Also, having to wait for something increases the value I put on that something. I'm more likely to look after it and (in a world where we are finally working out the harm of a disposable society can wreak) less likely to throw it away.

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erikb 90350
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Always a challenge -- in many cases you may not use the upfront work you are doing. You may still only get one cookie instead of two - or none at all! Who here has done work for a project that was canceled? Conversely we face unneeded problems after implementation because we didn't lay the groundwork up front.
Jeff Moden
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"Delayed Gratification" and "Patience" have a whole lot to do with each other and I've benefitted from both in many ways, especially on the job.

We recently had a huge problem where a 32 CPU/256GB RAM box running the Enterprise Edition of SQL Server saturated at about 85% average CPU. I was working on determining what the root cause was (there were a ton of symptoms) but, in the mean time, they said they were going to throw hardware at it. I was going to tell them that it wouldn't help and could make matters worse (which it did) but I remember telling them that before (they wanted to be sure they had capacity, is the short story) and that they needed to fix some code. They didn't fix the code. So I did NOT tell them again that hardware wasn't going to fix it this time. I didn't set them up for failure but I did give them the "opportunity to fail" instead of fighting them this time.

There were multiple benefits to doing so...
1. They stopped asking me what the fix was while the hardware was being ordered and shipped. That gave me 3 days to do a really deep dive (it was a very strange problem and turned out to be Entity Framework related connections that had MARS enabled).
2. It gave me the opportunity to prove to them that when I said hardware wasn't the fix for what they perceived to be scalability problems and they did so by their own hand making the point even more convincing.
3. I now have a 48 CPU/384 GB box that can handle just about anything provided that they write the right kind of code.
4. They now know that I'm right about hardware and listen much more intently when I propose fixes to code and have made such fix recommendations an action priority.
5. It also helped them change their minds a bit about changing from on-premise hardware to the cloud, which I don't actually want to do for multiple reasons. The cloud isn't necessarily a bad idea to me... it's just a bad idea for the nature of our business.

As a DBA, one of my jobs is to help other people with their jobs but and as the saying goes... "A man forced against his will is of the same opinion still". I'm frequently involved with new things/proposals and there have been several times where I tell them "If you do it that way, here are the problems that will occur and how to avoid them" and there have been several times where someone is passionate about the changes or new thing they want to make. I've learned that when it gets to a certain point, more time will be spent arguing about it than (provided it will not cause harm to any data or the company) simply giving them the "opportunity to fail". Again, I'm not saying that I set them up for failure. I'll even help them with what they want to do as best as I honestly can because, remembering that "One good experiment is worth a thousand expert opinions", sometimes people need to fail to realize that someone else is right (and, yes... I include myself in that even when I think I'm right).

It's also a hard lesson for some people to learn. They want to change (supposedly improve) something or do something new a different way and it looks like the same thing they tried previously and failed at, maybe a year or two ago. I remind them of how it didn't work before. The occasional (extremely rare lately) response is "Yeah, but this is different". The "opportunity to fail" begins again but, no matter what happens, we're all going to learn from it as a team and to the benefit of the company we all work for. ;-)



--Jeff Moden

RBAR is pronounced ree-bar and is a Modenism for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
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bkubicek
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Jeff Moden - Monday, December 11, 2017 6:25 AM

"Delayed Gratification" and "Patience" have a whole lot to do with each other and I've benefitted from both in many ways, especially on the job.

We recently had a huge problem where a 32 CPU/256GB RAM box running the Enterprise Edition of SQL Server saturated at about 85% average CPU. I was working on determining what the root cause was (there were a ton of symptoms) but, in the mean time, they said they were going to throw hardware at it. I was going to tell them that it wouldn't help and could make matters worse (which it did) but I remember telling them that before (they wanted to be sure they had capacity, is the short story) and that they needed to fix some code. They didn't fix the code. So I did NOT tell them again that hardware wasn't going to fix it this time. I didn't set them up for failure but I did give them the "opportunity to fail" instead of fighting them this time.

There were multiple benefits to doing so...
1. They stopped asking me what the fix was while the hardware was being ordered and shipped. That gave me 3 days to do a really deep dive (it was a very strange problem and turned out to be Entity Framework related connections that had MARS enabled).
2. It gave me the opportunity to prove to them that when I said hardware wasn't the fix for what they perceived to be scalability problems and they did so by their own hand making the point even more convincing.
3. I now have a 48 CPU/384 GB box that can handle just about anything provided that they write the right kind of code.
4. They now know that I'm right about hardware and listen much more intently when I propose fixes to code and have made such fix recommendations an action priority.
5. It also helped them change their minds a bit about changing from on-premise hardware to the cloud, which I don't actually want to do for multiple reasons. The cloud isn't necessarily a bad idea to me... it's just a bad idea for the nature of our business.

As a DBA, one of my jobs is to help other people with their jobs but and as the saying goes... "A man forced against his will is of the same opinion still". I'm frequently involved with new things/proposals and there have been several times where I tell them "If you do it that way, here are the problems that will occur and how to avoid them" and there have been several times where someone is passionate about the changes or new thing they want to make. I've learned that when it gets to a certain point, more time will be spent arguing about it than (provided it will not cause harm to any data or the company) simply giving them the "opportunity to fail". Again, I'm not saying that I set them up for failure. I'll even help them with what they want to do as best as I honestly can because, remembering that "One good experiment is worth a thousand expert opinions", sometimes people need to fail to realize that someone else is right (and, yes... I include myself in that even when I think I'm right).

It's also a hard lesson for some people to learn. They want to change (supposedly improve) something or do something new a different way and it looks like the same thing they tried previously and failed at, maybe a year or two ago. I remind them of how it didn't work before. The occasional (extremely rare lately) response is "Yeah, but this is different". The "opportunity to fail" begins again but, no matter what happens, we're all going to learn from it as a team and to the benefit of the company we all work for. ;-)


Jeff, thanks for your comment. I do agree allowing team members to fail can be a good thing. Sometimes it is the only way people learn. In this case you got better hardware out of the deal too.

Ben

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I'm a huge gamer myself. I also used to work in the AAA game industry for 7 years. I am very familiar with such concepts on the example given when implementing into the games I've worked on over the years. This is something as a industry, we have noticed because people just don't have the time and if there is a short cut, why wouldn't you just take it? This is because the market is in that Instant Gratification mode right now, especially in games.

If you look at the gaming progression, especially in online games (the area I focused in), you can see a dramatic difference in game designs. It started off with the later games like Ultima Online and Everquest where you had to wait to kill monsters sometimes or get in a queue to clean a dungeon of monsters. There was a lot of downtime and teamwork that had to happen with the players versus a system handling it for you.

Insert World of Warcraft. A system designed to give players their own instance (private session) where they can just get right to playing with no waiting. Need to move across the world fast? Insert fast travel where you can get somewhere fast with little to no wait. As this game blew up, more and more players want things yesterday versus waiting -- instant gratification is the name of the game now.

Unfortunately, the game example you gave is a bad one. You can still get instant gratification and also get delayed gratification too. No one is saying you can't have another cookie if you decide to eat it early in those examples. Once they see you eat it early, you can have more and more. You can also stop and just wait for it too if you run out of steam. I personally will always want it sooner rather than later because I hate downtime in those types of games. Smile
Eric M Russell
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... I was faced with this question of delayed gratification recently outside of work. I was playing one of my time wasting games on my phone. I was tempted to buy some gems for a few dollars, so I could get some upgrades. The issue was, if I just waited 10 days and continued to work at the levels, I would get twice as many gems for free. ...

It would be great if some games not only allowed delayed gratification as an option but had a scoring model that actually encouraged it.



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Not necessarily one or the other is right, circumstances vary.

Sure, the price of the HDTV example will likely come down. But that means a year or two without it. Is the year or two of 'denial' worth the money spent? That's simply a personal choice. Extremes of either behavior can have negative effects, one can squander one's resources and have nothing (at one extreme) or there are cases of people dying, living in seeming poverty even though they had plenty of money in the bank.

Early human societies were optimized around one model or the other. Hunter gatherers needed to live largely for the moment. A major prey kill, or a bountiful crop of wild food meant you eat it then (as well as share freely with the group). In essence that society favored reciprocal generosity. By contrast, agricultural societies needed to take the long view. Planting crops long in advance, raising animals (which temporarily consumed resoureces) for future benefit. Protecting those resources over extended periods of time created a more cautious environment, with trade balanced on a more structured value level.

...

-- FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers --
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Speaking of games, the current best game of the season in my household is a 9 year old driving game that we got for $5 last year. Had we got it when it came out, we would have spent several times the amount, plus had to wait for all the patches, updates and fixes.

The same goes for movies. Why pay $$$ to go elsewhere to sit and stare at a screen with sometimes rude strangers when you can wait for a few months and enjoy it from the comfort of your home.

Being in this business for a while, I don't jump on the latest and greatest software releases. Usually there's a SP1 or release x.01 that corrects most of the big issue with software.
john.brooking
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Reminds me of this interesting article that came to my attention recently. Maybe good news for cosplay-interested sysadmins? ;-)

Dressing up as a superhero might actually give your kid grit
https://qz.com/927414/research-finds-dressing-up-as-a-superhero-keeps-kids-on-task-and-less-distracted-by-technology/
[But those kids pretending to be superheroes ‘worked’ more than those who thought of themselves in the third person, and both of those groups did better than the kids who just thought of themselves as ‘me’."
In other words, the more the child could distance him or herself from the temptation, the better the focus. “Children who were asked to reflect on the task as if they were another person were less likely to indulge in immediate gratification and more likely to work toward a relatively long-term goal,” the authors wrote in the study called “The “Batman Effect”: Improving Perseverance in Young Children,” published in Child Development.]


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