It’s always good to have good motivating examples. I was in a talk once at the case-based reasoning conference, and this guy’s example was an internet search mechanism for finding information about cars. The search took like 13.4 seconds or something. He said that was too long.
It is? I might do a couple of these kinds of searches every four years, and 13.4 seconds is too long? He spent the next 30 minutes telling about how he shaved it down to like 2.6 seconds. I spent much more time watching this part of the talk than his findings would ever save me in the real world.
Luckily for me I some of that time writing this essay, during that part of the talk, so it wasn’t a total wash.
Perhaps his methods apply to a more interesting, larger class of problems, but damn, he should have chosen a better guiding example; because the stupidity of the whole thing distracted me throughout the whole talk. I had to keep reminding myself of his numerous accomplishments to keep me from thinking he’s a total dumbbell.