Value In, Value Out!

I recently joined the Oneupweb team as a software developer. Now computers are widely associated with the principle, “Garbage In, Garbage Out” (GIGO), and it certainly applies. The biggest part of my job is to make sure that when the good stuff gets put in, good stuff comes out. Get the process (computer program, in my case) working efficiently and correctly.

Sometimes though, we have to ask, with such a good process, why aren’t the results as good as we expect? GIGO directs us to look at what goes in.

This last week I was pondering, as I’m sure many of you were, why, with the greatest political system in existence and the excellence of our average citizens, we are seemingly unable to meet the challenge of an impending world-wide financial crisis?

We have decisions to make, and not much time to make them. We have a proposal on the table, and no consensus whether it’s a good one. We can’t rest on the “my political party is right!” principle, because both parties are divided.

Making good decisions. It requires good information. What are the fundamentals of our economy? What is at risk? Who will suffer? How did we get here? Is there a way back, or a way forward? We question more and more; the trouble is not lack of information, but too much. Which is just garbage and which has value? The places we look for reliability, integrity, accuracy are critical.

I went to one of my trustworthy sources on the web, THOMAS, by the Library of Congress. Others were, too, because there’s the link on the home page to the text of the bill I was looking for. Now I can find out what the politicians and the news media might not be telling me.

For example, observe two new government bureaucracies in the making (one permanent!), not to mention a Congressional Oversight Panel. We all know about the $700 billion. What I didn’t know was about how to get the first and second half ($350 B each) of that authorization. The President and Secretary have ready enough access to the first, but wait until they request the second half. That “Fast Track” process is a recipe for political partisanship out of your worst nightmares. And there is a lot of other interesting language there. Buying “troubled assets” according to “the purposes of this Act.” Insurance according to “actuarial principles.”

Enough said about that. Some powerful processes we don’t control, we can only use. Use wisely, get value; unwisely, get garbage. We had better know how to use those things we are given to control. Knowledge helps us to effectively use even what we don’t control directly. I hope accurate knowledge of this bill will help me to guide my Senators and Representatives, and my neighbors, in doing the right thing for the country.

Good information is vital to making decisions — if it’s “garbage in” the best process won’t yield good results. So why not “Value In, Value Out?” That’s the way it’s supposed to work.

People are looking for your business as a source for the “good stuff,” the right products or services, maybe the right information. And the web is great place for them to connect with you. I’m proud to be part of a company that helps to make that connection.

We put value in (raw data) and get value out (solutions to problems, guidance toward goals) — better decisions.