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Today I met my most experienced(!) client for the first time. At 79 years of age she takes the trophy by a good 5 years or so!

There were many amazing things about our meeting today (including her fantastically point blank refusal to accept that, at 79, she should just accept her recent anxiety and be happy with her lot). 

But it was a little story she told me that made me think and I thought I’d share.  We were talking about how she is also very computer literate and is a bit of a photo editing expert!

Anyway, in the 1950s she started work for the Royal Air something or other and was fortunate enough to be working on one of only 2 computers in the whole country. As she described it, this machine was the size of two decent living rooms (amazing to think I now carry something significantly more powerful in my pocket). 

The computer used paper ‘tape’ full of holes to compute whatever it was computing using some very clever maths and some equally clever engineering. When the machine broke down, a door was opened and boffins walked inside to see what the issue was. 

One day the machine broke down, wouldn’t run the program it was meant to. No matter how many experts they brought in it still refused to work. Professor this and Doctor that were brought in to locate the problem. Nothing doing. The boss says to these guys ‘give it to Alice, she’ll sort it’.

Alice took the paper ‘program’ as her first port of call and ran it through her fingers. 5 minutes later she grabbed her pen and poked it through the paper ‘program’.  Next run through, worked perfectly. The ‘program’ was missing a hole.  What the boffins didn’t know was that Alice had learned to read the programs. Pretty god damn cool if you ask me. 

When you keep on looking in the wrong place you’ll never find a solution. Sometimes it pays to ask yourself what the simplest solution could be and do that first. 

Hope you enjoyed Alice’s story and my liberal use of the word ‘boffins’. 🙂

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