Mike Bryant has been a computer programmer for the last 15 years. He has worked for AutoTrader.com, Time-Warner Cable, as well as many other businesses. What exactly about this job would make someone a good state representative?
To answer this question, it helps to know a little about how a programmer approaches the problems that he or she tries to solve every day. The general process a programmer employs to find solutions goes something like this:
- Figure out what the problem is
- Gather as much information about the problem as possible
- Analyze this information to formulate a plan of action for solving the problem
- Write computer code based on the plan
- Test the code to make sure it’s working as planned
- Revise the code to fix any errors
- Repeat steps 5 & 6 until everything’s working
The keystone of a programmer’s approach lies in the first three steps. Writing code is actually a small part of solving a big problem. The programmer doesn’t do anything until he has an idea of the facts about the problem and how the building blocks available to him fit together. Useful programs ARE NOT a result of some knee-jerk reaction or off-the-cuff decisions.
If you look at the economic and political climate in Kentucky at the moment, it would seem that our current elected officials have made a lot of decisions without any analysis whatsoever. I get the feeling that most of our senators and representatives read a summary of a bill and totally ignore the details. Too bad the summaries aren’t what determine the success of legislation. As the old saying goes, the devil is in the details! I’m not saying that everyone in Frankfort is so short sighted, but the results of their actions speak for themselves.
Mike will use his analytical skills to craft good legislation that actually make things better for the 91st district? It’s true that legislators have to deal with tons of requests and details every single day. Does Mike possess some super-human mind that will allow him to track all the facts in his head? No, but he does know how to use spreadsheets and databases to get to the details needed to make good decisions. Computers are really good at crunching details. Luckily, Mike is really good at telling computers how to work for him!
It may seem odd to think that software can make that big of a difference. However, it’s been proven over and over in the business world that software which lets decision makers see underlying trends pays off big time. In government, this would translate to a government that actually works for the people.
I know that when Mike gets elected, he will be a champion for data-driven decision making. Furthermore, I know that he will share his custom-written software solutions with his fellow representatives so that they all can make better decisions based on what the facts are. I’m confident that when decisions are made based on the details, things in Kentucky will start to change for the better. What an exciting thought!