Nintendo’s Marriage

Nintendo was the first one among the gaming console companies to enforce strict quality and content controls on games for their platform. Perhaps they saw what happened to other manufacturers that had a more promiscuous approach. When 9 out of 10 games are terrible, people start thinking that there’s something wrong with the platform.

Apple took the same approach with the iPhone. Initially banning 3rd party apps completely, and suggesting that 3rd parties create specially crafted HTML pages just for iPhone. It did not take long before this rule was relaxed, but at least Apple kept some control of their platform by having all apps go through a (shallow) vetting procedure, and ultimately having the ability to pull the app entirely.

In the IP video industry, the VMS companies used to demand that people selling the software were certified. The two primary reasons were that a) it produced a decent revenue, and b) idiots selling your software may tarnish your reputation through no fault of the manufacturer.

Prior to IP video cameras, most installations were pretty straightforward. The challenges were in getting the right coverage, pulling the cables neatly and mounting the cameras properly. Any old electrician understood that when you connected the coax camera to “input 1”, the video from that camera would emerge on the corresponding spot on the monitor. If something happened, you’d eject the tapes, push in some new ones, and that was it.

Getting an IP video infrastructure set up properly is an entirely different ballgame. You still have to pull cables, and mount cameras, but on top of that, you have to deal with a whole host of new problems. You have to keep the OS up-to-date, you have to keep the camera firmware up-to-date, you have to verify that security protocols are adhered to (no “123456” passwords), and if something happens, you have to navigate an often confusing and complex UI that offers 3 different ways to get your footage out of the system. Most of these tasks are trivial to maintain for people who are used to the quirks and understand the meaning of every term, but the majority do not.

If you’re dealing with larger installations, you’re often trying to integrate the VMS with existing equipment, and sometimes you’re asked to make it fit within existing IT policies, which makes things an order of magnitude more interesting. You’re also dealing with people in a position of authority, that arbitrarily demand various things (some possible, some not, some that make sense, some that do not).

As a consultant, I advise people against things I think are counter-productive, unfeasible or impossible. If they stillĀ insist on going down some rabbit hole, I will happily go there, knowing that they are paying by the hour. But not everyone is fortunate enough to make that trade.

You could say that I am a kind of prostitute; Naturally, I want repeat clients, so unless the services requested are too crazy, I’ll oblige. I am not offended by any suggestion, but I reserve the right to just say no.

In many cases, though, it’s more like a marriage. And just like in a marriage,. the vendor and the partner must establish and maintain trust between one-another. Without trust, the marriage will not last long, or it will be a long nightmare for both parties. Trust is not limited to “not, technically, lying” (as opposed to straight up lying), it’s also about sharing expectations, plans, ideas, and being honest about what can’t and what won’t happen.

Good marriages also seem to include some sort of equal give and take between the partners; you do the dishes, I’ll do the laundry.

And this is where marriages get tricky. If I mess up the laundry every single time, break the dishes when I try to fill the washing machine, cause water damage to the floors when I mop, then we need to divide the tasks so that I take on tasks that I am qualified to take on. But what if I am not really good at any task? Or at least, not good at any relevant task? Or, perhaps I am confident thatĀ I am cooking a mean mac and cheese, but the reality is that it is bland and mushy and gives people constipation.

In a relationship that is too lopsided, one partner will eventually get fed up and leave. And it’s hard for me, then, to gauge whether the mac and cheese is truly terrible, or if it was just something mean and offensive the ex-wife threw in my face. I may, tragically, not learn a single thing from this endeavor.


And so you may encounter people who disables the storage drive through the windows disk manager, and then complain about poor performance. They may not understand how networks work, and demand changes that are time-consuming but will never improve the performance. Naturally, they will complain when they realize this to be true. They may consistently provide false, misleading information regarding behavior and version numbers, and fail (intentionally?) to provide the diagnostic logs to support their claims, and so on. They’re breaking the dishes, shrinking your favorite shirt, and causing water damage.

In those situations, there’s nothing wrong with sitting down, looking each other deep in the eyes, and agree to part ways. Rather than staying in an abusive relationship where backstabbing and offensive slurs are the order of the day.

Nintendo and Apple carefully vetted who they married; setting up strict requirements for those who were allowed into the walled garden. You had to prove that you were a good match, and that you wouldn’t tarnish the reputation of either of them. If you can’t find a good match, then give up, it’s always better to abstain than to settle.

Today, it is not in vogue to be such a snob. Promiscuity is all the rage. Have thousands of connections with semi-random people on social media is the norm. Getting into bed with every conceivable partner is a virtue.

And perhaps that’s why there’s so much shit out there today.