It's not just the cars (and the football) – German software leads the world, too.
German people, when they are talking in German about German products, use the English phase “Made in Germany” rather than the equivalent German phrase. Why would this be so?
The British are to blame. In 1897 there was an Act of Parliament in Britain which said that foreign goods should be marked with the country of origin so that “cheap and nasty” foreign goods could never be confused with high quality British merchandise.
This very quickly backfired and the brand “Made in Germany” soon began to be recognised as a mark of quality.
So what is so special about goods made in Germany?
I’m certainly not saying that no other country can make a good product, and I’m certainly not saying everything “Made in Germany” is top quality (e.g. German TV – their cop shows are especially awful).
However, there does seem to be a unifying theme of quality running through German industry that almost guarantees that their cars, kitchen equipment, lenses and football teams are high quality and constantly seem to be getting even better.
What’s their secret?
Well, for starters it isn’t a secret. Germans work hard, are focused, use the best materials available and constantly strive to improve. Industry and universities and government work together. Research and development are priorities rather than overheads. Engineers and engineering are respected. Unfinished products are not rushed to market. Long-term decisions are made and detailed plans put in place to implement them.
This approach applies equally in the field of software engineering. It has been inspirational to be part of the process at EXASOL – to see new ideas arise, be refined, be implemented, be refined yet more and finally to be included in the finished code.
It has been difficult for me in many ways – I have long experience of working with British and American software companies, and I’m more used to an approach that the movie producer Jack Warner would have called “I don’t want it good – I want it Tuesday”.
As a customer of those companies I never felt that I ever got a finished product – version x.y.0 was never any good, and sometimes x.y.9 wasn’t that much better.
Quality awareness at EXASOL
EXASOL 5.0.0 isn’t like that – if for no other reason than that three “release candidates” were made available to customers earlier this year and feedback incorporated. This put the final 5.0.0 release date further into the future – but as a result, the finished product will feel … er, finished.
You don’t have to believe me – we offer several ways to try EXASOL here. The user interface might speak English, but under the skin the product is pure “Made in Germany”.