Monday, September 29, 2008
There are a ton of questions that people have difficulty answering when it comes to piracy:
Is piracy stealing?
Is piracy morally wrong?
Is piracy worse than shoplifting?
Is piracy ever justifiable?
Is expending energy answering these questions a waste of time?
I don't know the answer to any but the last question and I say yes to that.
The more interesting questions to me is: why do people pirate and how can its damaging effects be minimized? Let me ask an even better question: can piracy be beneficial to the gaming industry?
My top three answers to the first question are piracy is fast , piracy is free, and piracy is safe. My answer to the last question, I will answer way at the end, so MONKEYSHINES bookmarking in effect--skip down to the red MONKEYSHINES to get to the answer. But first, I will discuss why I believe piracy is so prolific and how its destructive effects can be minimized.
Consider Ubuntu Linux. I can download the entire contents of a CD for Ubuntu Linux in a few minutes with Bittorrent. The speed with which I can get content via that protocol makes it a superior and preferable option to any other form of distribution. Pirates use the same protocol to distribute content. They do it because it is the most efficient means available. If something better were to come along, they would adopt it immediately. There is a lot one can learn from pirates.
“If it's free, I want it.” -- a buddy of mine from college. That buddy ended up having an apartment full of crap, but he has an interesting point. Free, as a price point is difficult to beat. In the current paradigm of video game commerce, a pirate can easily get a game that is better than the one they could buy at a store for free.
It's safe. There is virtually no perceived risk in piracy. Not counting computer viruses or litigation, there isn't much of a risk involved in software piracy. If you don't like it, you delete it and you go about your business. There are two interesting effects of this risk free environment: people try out new products at will, and it creates a really good picture of what kinds of products people like.
Compare piracy with buying a software 'the right way'.
Retail purchases of games requires some form of waiting, either waiting for the game to be delivered via the mail or making a trip to a B&M store. Take my own situation for example. I live within 2 miles of one of a Target and within 5 miles of a Best Buy and a Gamestop. Getting to a store and back isn't a big deal. If I really want a game now, I can probably get one within 15 minutes. 15 minutes that I would need to spend going to and from a store in my car to pick up a game. 15 minutes that I could have spent doing any number of other things just so I could pick up a game. Compare that to getting a game online, I can just pick something out and let my computer do the work while I'm off doing whatever it is that I do.
Buying games through retail is expensive. It's expensive not only in terms of time, but also money. Some games sell for as much as $60. That's half a week of food for my wife and me. That's a tank of gas. That's two rounds of golf at my local golf course. All of those things are what I'm comparing your product to when I decide whether I'm going to buy it. Is your product comparable to going out to dinner with friends? The $60 price point is something I would need to really think about, and I'd probably get by butt kicked by my wife if I bought a $60 game without telling her. For $30, I can pick that up without getting my butt kicked.
Price points become important when you consider the risks of buying a game. If you pay $60 for a game that sucks, well you just wasted $60. I don't know of a retailer that will accept a return on a game. They learned that a lot of people return video games. Why? The two reasons that seem obvious are: 1) the game sucks, or 2) the customer is tired of it. In both cases the customer did not feel that they received sufficient value for their money.
Anti piracy advocates always talk about how the people who make the games work hard. Customers work equally as hard for their money and they don't want to feel ripped off and cheated. Sound familiar? Just because you work hard to create a product doesn't mean that you are entitled to sales. If I plow sand, it's going to be a lot of work. When it comes time to harvest the fruits of my work there isn't going to be much. Is it anyone else's fault that I picked a poor spot to farm?
So, what is the problem? Piracy is able to compete with the traditional retail paradigm by ways of speed, risk, and price. By pirating software, people are able to enjoy the same experiences without any of the negative effects of the traditional retail experience.
The only way to eliminate the effects of piracy is to make it obsolete, or better yet, make it work for you. I propose the following plan to make compete with piracy on the basis of speed, risk, and value.
1. Compete on the basis of speed. Digital distribution is the way of the future. Look at Steam. They are doing a lot of things right. Steam is my preferred point of purchase for video games because they mitigate many of the downsides of purchasing video games. Digital distribution is competing directly with piracy in terms of speed.
Printing physical media is a waste of resources and a wasteful practice. Instead of treating your products like a physical good, treat it exclusively as a license. When a person purchases a license treat it as a key to use your product. Look at how Steam and most MMOs work. You can download the software through the publisher's site easily and quickly. You just need an account in good standing to play the game.
It costs way less to distribute digitally than it does to manufacture a physical product and distribute that physical product via traditional logistics. It is also, largely unnecessary.
2. Mitigate the risk of purchasing your product. Take a minute to look at how video game publishers work. Let's face facts and admit that most video game purchases are regrettable.
Why is this? I think the biggest reason is because games are pushed out to market before they reach an acceptable level of maturity. Add to this the level of support that people receive after they purchase a game, typically zero, and it is easy to see why people feel cheated or ripped off when they make the mistake of buying a game.
Instead of abandoning your customer with your incomplete mess of a game, why not stand by your work? Are you in the business of deceiving people into buying your product and then ditching them once you have cash in hand or are you in the business of creating and selling a high quality experience to your customers? If your customers feel that you are trying to rip them off, there are many potential customers who will not hesitate to rip you off instead.
Do the right thing, if you sell crap, buck up and take responsibility for your bad product. If you feel entitled to your customer's money because they were unfortunate enough to believe your marketing and you treat them as such, do you think that the same people will hesitate to feel entitled to receive everything you ever did or will create for free because they paid for a piece of incomplete and malfunctioning garbage? Pirates aren't the only ones who feel entitled to the fruits of others' hard work.
Respect your customer and they will respect you. Look at Blizzard. Nobody will accuse them of selling crap. They can't meet a deadline to save their lives, but their work is excellent. They are the pinnacle of video game developers. People do not hesitate to purchase Blizzard products. When Diablo III hits the shelves there will be people lining up to buy it. Yes, people will want to pirate it too, but the vast majority of them will want to buy it because Blizzard will...
3. Make the gaming experience for the purchased product vastly better than the experience that a pirated product can give. A few ways in which this can be accommodated are to provide an enhanced online experience--people with pirated products will be hesitant to use use a game maker's servers with a pirated product. If they aren't, well you know where to send the bill. Look at the MMO games that have a subscription based model, piracy isn't a big problem with them, because running a pirated product isn't very useful. It's actually in a subscription based service's best interest to allow people to distribute their products on their own. It reduces the bandwidth load...more on that later.
I think the software developing world could learn a lot from Blizzard. They don't sell any product until it reaches their high standards. They continue to offer a fantastic online experience with their titles well after their products sell. Look at Starcraft, it has been on the market for 10 years. During that time, its use has shifted focus from the single player game on the online gameplay, which is provided by Blizzard for no additional charge.
Providing the server for no additional charge makes sense in my opinion. The game seller can control who uses their product online. By controlling the online game, the game seller can control who uses it, i.e., keep the pirates out. They can also provide a better experience than the pirated version.
I believe that too many game publishers are spending too many resources trying to make game piracy impossible. I'm going to let you guys in on a little secret, it is a loser's game. Most game security professionals will tell you that at best you can hope to make it difficult enough for the pirated version to only be ubiquitous after the game launches. Instead of spending resources trying to fight a losing battle, why not use your enemies' forces to work for you.
The million dollar question is how to turn what some claim is destroying the video game industry into something that helps it. The key is simple, provide a better experience through the purchased product than a pirated version can deliver. That is to say, give the person you call a pirate a compelling reason to become the person you call a customer.
Instead of calculating a pirated copy as a potential loss of purchase, why not treat it as a potential sale? Instead of turning a list of pirates over to legal, why not turn that list over to sales? There is no way to 'win' with a lawyer, it's just a degree of loss.
Instead of turning them into martyrs and your peers into monsters, turn the people who have tried your product out a chance to become paying customers. You don't need Ricky Roma to come in and schmooze someone into a sale, they know your product. Even better than knowing your product, they already have it, anything you gain from them is pure profit.
Engineer the product so it isn't all that challenging to be 'pirated' as a product that is inferior to what the purchased version can deliver. Online multiplayer is just an example, another strategy that can work is to provide extra downloadable content at no extra charge to paying customers. Engineer the product so that 'pirating' it is not much different than distributing a good demo. It wasn't long ago that companies like id and Blizzard offered rich playable demos of games like Doom, Quake, and Warcraft. I don't know what ever happened to those franchises, but I do know that we played the crap out of them in college and spread the word about how awesome those games are.
What else is piracy good for? Market research. Torrent numbers on certain notorious web sites based in Scandinavian countries don't need to be insulting. They're performing a few services to the content producing community. They are showing what people are interested in. The more people who torrent a title is pretty significant. Yes it doesn't directly translate into sales, but it does show what people want when cost is not a factor. That's information that is ripe for the taking. If you read the threads about the games, you can see what people honestly think about the games. They didn't pay anything for it, so they aren't going to be nearly as hostile or angry as a disappointed paying customer.
Lastly, learn to live with piracy. It's going to happen and no matter what technical and legal means are used to try and stop it altogether, there will be some who will take it as a challenge to defeat those countermeasures. Make it easy on yourselves, develop strategies to use piracy to your benefit, and then you can focus on the things that you really want to focus on.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I really don't understand why content companies like EA and Sony feel entitled to take control over their customer's computers without fully disclosing their intent upfront. DRM does not need to be secretive, actually it's better for everyone if it is transparent.
Maybe I'm still bitter about NCAA Football 2009 being a horrible game, but I'd like to see EA made into an example.
I'm a big fan of Brooks Brothers' clothes, they are extremely well made and durable.
From time to time, Brooks Brothers offers sales on entire orders. They're really a good deal, from 9/24-9/28, Brooks Brothers is offering a 25% off sale on orders with the friends and family coupon code of : friend64.
These codes work with the regular 2-for and 3-for deals. For example: Brooks Brothers offers their golden fleece polo shirts for the price of $99 for two shirts, regularly $59 each. With the coupon code, 2 shirts will set you back $75, or about $37.50 each.
Every point in doing something for someone else that requires thought is what I call a 'screw it opportunity'. That's an opportunity for someone to say 'screw it' and not do whatever it is that you want them to do.
Make it simple and make it thoughtless, and it will get done.
When the people of Sweden bailed out their struggling financial institutions, they mandated that they first write down their bad debt. The people also took equity in those institutions.
I have very little faith that our executive administration can execute a bailout without getting a bunch of friends rich. We, the people of the United States, should be outraged that our administration is proposing that we just throw money at the problem without imposing change.
Deregulation has failed. Giving money to a system that fails without changing it is just feeding fuel to another failure fire. I don't know what is required to make our financial systems work. Is it regulation?
If action needs to be taken now, what I would like to see is that we come to an agreement that the cost of a bailout is the recipients of the bailouts get to agree to whatever terms the congress comes up with, whether it be regulation, giving equity to the government, whatever. Additionally, I would love to impose a restriction on the recipients of the bailouts from using lobbyists and making campaign contributions.
That's just my thought.
I've never worked for Unisys and I don't know much about McGrath, but my next door neighbor was a security guard at one of their facilities for many years. Besides keeping the outside world safe from paper printouts, my neighbor had the unpleasant, yet steady, task of escorting laid off employees out of their half vacant building.
My neighbor's facility turned from a once bustling beehive of activity into a veritable ghost town.
He said that a lot of people who saw themselves as lifers got to take a walk with him. "Anyone with an ounce of common sense could see the writing on the wall. The smart ones left, but there were some who kept their head in the sand and stayed." I don't think there is such a thing as a lifer in information technology anymore.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Nintendo is still the only company that really makes good use of the Wiimote controller. The other games just aren't on par. I expect that Nintendo will do some crazy things with Wario Land.
The video has me really psyched.
My friend is responsible for keeping her company's computer services up. There are a ton of them, and a lot of them are only needed at certain times. There's a pretty complex system of dependencies between services. The wisdom behind designing such a spider's web of dependencies is, well, idiotic, but that isn't my friend's fault.
My friend's manager is completely unaware of what services are necessary for the company to do business. What he does like to do is view all the services through an administrative control panel. He also likes to turn certain services off and on from time to time because, well I don't know he just does. He's been asked not to, but the siren song of the switches must be too great for him.
The result of this is his employees get paged at 3AM when a batch job fails or they get a pile of email failures in their inbox first thing in the morning. Either way, the ops people are traversing that spider web to find out what's failing.
The ops people have taken some preemptive action. There are cron jobs that notify them when their manager uses administrative rights on the system. That's cut down on many of their manager caused outages.
I'd suggest that they take it one step further and create a honeypot for him. Create an administrative user interface that looks identical to the real one. It reports information like the real one, but the switches for the manager are fake. He can flip them all he wants and it won't take the systems down. That little trick would do wonders for their uptime percentage numbers.
Game Politics has been kind enough to list known settlements with the titles that are named in the court documents(below). It's interesting to note that each of the defendants are unrepresented by counsel.
- Shawn Guse of Federal Way, Washington. Guse, unrepresented by counsel, agreed to pay Activision $100,000 (CoD 3 Wii, CoD 3 Xbox 360) to settle the case. Read the Guse settlement.
- Chris Hyman of Abbeville, South Carolina. Hyman, also unrepresented, agreed to pay Activision $25,000 to settle the case. (CoD3 Wii, Tony Hawk's Project 8, Xbox 360). Read the Hyman settlement.
- George Laflin of New Jersey. Laflin, apparently the only defendant who had an attorney, agreed to pay Activision $100,000 (CoD 3 Xbox 360). Read the Laflin settlement.
- Maryanne Leach of Northome, Minnesota. Leach, with no attorney, agreed to pay Activision $1,000. Read the Leach settlement.
- Kenneth Madden of York, South Carolina agreed to pay Activision $100,000 (CoD 3 Wii, Cod 2 The Big Red One PS2, Tony Hawk's Project 8, Xbox 360). He too was unrepresented. Read the Madden settlement.
- James R. Strickland, aka Ryan Strickland of New York State; case is still active (CoD3 Xbox 360). Read the Strickland complaint.
My thoughts on this? Well, don't steal. That concludes my thoughts on pirates.
What I find interesting is the amounts that are being settled. $100,000? Are these run of the mill The Pirate Bay people who were unlucky and dumb enough to get caught, or are did these people do more to enable others to pirate the titles?
Stealing is wrong, but shaking people down for $100 large is pretty crazy too. How are these damages being calculated? How are they justified? Are these people acting out of fear instead of making good decisions with the input of legal counsel?
Explain it however you want. If people want to make the argument that taking content from the Internet is the same as stealing a game from a store shouldn't the punishment for the two actions be the same? If not, shouldn't they be similar? In my opinion, a fair dollar amount to stealing a title would be in the neighborhood of 2 to 5 times the full retail price of the property. Anything more than that is ridiculous.
People, I have a purchased copy of COD 3 for the Wii that I played for about an hour. I'd gladly give it away free rather than see someone destroy their financial future.
Details are scarce about what the people are accused of. The defendants are bound by their agreements not to talk, so it's difficult to get an idea of who Activision is going after.
I think this is a dangerous PR move on Activision's part. Taking individuals down for $100,000 is not going to win them many friends. Activision has a lot to lose, especially now that they merged with Blizzard.
If Activision's tactics are as ham handed and clumsy as the RIAA's, Activision is likely to cause themselves more harm in bad PR than they will ever recoup by shaking people down.
With the information that is known, it is difficult to know what Activision's intentions are: are they trying to destroy people whom they believe stole from them, or are they trying to protect their property? Without clear information, people are going to assume the worst of Activision and the response is not going to be favorable.
Please do not comment with your view of whether file piracy is justified, wrong, etc. I don't need a flame war, thank you.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Palin also routinely does government business from a Yahoo address,email@example.com, rather than her secure official state e-mail address, according to documents already made public.
"Whoops!" Palin aide Frank Bailey wrote, after addressing an e-mail to the governor's official state address. "Frank, This is not the Governor's personal account," a secretary reminded him.
It seems clear that Palin was using a free Yahoo email account to communicate official state business. There are some who believe that Palin followed the lead of the allegations made that Carl Rove conducted his best dirty work by using email that is hosted on mail servers owned by the RNC.
Two things: first Carl Rove is a genius if not an evil genius, if you're going to follow his example, it might be best to consult with world class technical advisors. Rove allegedly used email servers that were controlled by people he knew, not by a public corporation. It is much easier to make data disappear(allegedly) if you can destroy it yourself; Secondly: if she truly did create these accounts with the intent to use them to conduct covert communications I would question the integrity, judgement, technical sophistication, and intelligence of Sarah Palin for the following reasons:
- Integrity: if this is an attempt at covert communication, then her integrity must come into question. For what legitimate purpose could she be using an unofficial email address to conduct business that pertains to her office and the business of the state?
- Judgement: this goes along the lines of integrity. It's a poor choice of email account names. At the very minimum it creates the appearance of improper communications. How can she not see this as the wrong thing to do?
- Technical Sophistication: as covert communication goes this is the move of an amateur. If the purpose of the email addresses was to conduct business outside the visibility of others, she failed and failed big.
- Intelligence: If she isn't lacking in judgement and integrity, she certainly is lacking in intelligence. She's either corrupt, or she's a moron. In either case, I would call to question her suitability as the President of the United States.
Investigators have requested email from those accounts. IANAL, but that appears to be an attempt at destroying evidence. If Palin is responsible for the deletion of those accounts, I am forced to believe that she lacks the integrity, judgement, and/or intelligence to lead our nation.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Interviews show that Ms. Palin runs an administration that puts a premium on loyalty and secrecy. The governor and her top officials sometimes use personal e-mail accounts for state business; dozens of e-mail messages obtained by The New York Times show that her staff members studied whether that could allow them to circumvent subpoenas seeking public records.
As she assembled her cabinet and made other state appointments, those with insider credentials were now on the outs. But a new pattern became clear. She surrounded herself with people she has known since grade school and members of her church.
So when there was a vacancy at the top of the State Division of Agriculture, she appointed a high school classmate, Franci Havemeister, to the $95,000-a-year directorship. A former real estate agent, Ms. Havemeister cited her childhood love of cows as a qualification for running the roughly $2 million agency.Harriet Miers? Browny? Regent University class of 1985? One of the countless other embarrassingly unqualified appointees?
[I]n 1995, Ms. Palin, then a city councilwoman, told colleagues that she had noticed the book “Daddy’s Roommate” on the shelves and that it did not belong there, according to Ms. Chase and Mr. Stein. Ms. Chase read the book, which helps children understand homosexuality, and said it was inoffensive; she suggested that Ms. Palin read it.
That's the type of Solomon-like judgement and open mindedness that I look for in a leader. The more I read of Palin the more I think she is the Bush to McCain's Cheney. I really encourage all Palin supporters to educate themselves about this woman before supporting her.
“Sarah said she didn’t need to read that stuff,” Ms. Chase said. “It was disturbing that someone would be willing to remove a book from the library and she didn’t even read it.”
“I’m still proud of Sarah,” she added, “but she scares the bejeebers out of me.”
Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.--Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Friday, September 12, 2008
- Steam ties their games to an account that works on any computer. If I have five computers and one Steam account I can download all of the games I purchased through Steam any time on all of those computers. I may, however, only use Steam on only one of those computers at any given time, i.e., I can't run a Steam game on one computer and have my wife run another Steam game on another computer at the same time.
- Steam distributes their software via a download. It's a lot faster than going to a retail store or having a traditional game mailed to my house. I also don't have a box filled with ads to throw out or a DVD to keep track of.
- Steam displays a metacritic review score of their products. Customers have the tools available to make an informed purchasing decision.
- Steam has its own social networking features that span beyond single games. I can meet up in Team Fortress 2 with the friends I made playing Day Of Defeat Source.
- Steam offers their products at a reasonable price.
- Steam has the ability to offer free demos for a limited period of time, say a weekend. This is a very savvy way to increase sales.
- Along that line, with Steam's DRM they have the ability to give invitations to their customers for demos. I was able to send a friend of mine a guest pass for Team Fortress 2. From a marketing perspective think how powerful this tool is, the content provider is giving their customers a tool to provide word of mouth advertising for their products.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised by this. Matt Demon is one of those east-coast abortion and science lovers that are ruining this country. First off, Matt Demon, it would make an AWESOME Disney movie and we are already in talks with there people to get this movie made. The mom from Everybody Loves Raymond is going to play me (I think Jamie Lee Curtis would actually be better at playing me, but she is a stupid liberel) and Tom Selleck is going to be Todd. I don't want to give the plot of the movie away but I can promise that it is going to have lots of comedy and jokes. Second, Matt Demon, why don't you try and make realistic action movies like Red Dawn instead of all those totally fake Jason Born movies (as governor of Alaska I live with the reality that the Soviet Union and Cuba could attack at anytime- something Matt Demon doesn't have to worry about).
I mean, really, where do you get off Matt Demon? Instead of hating America why don't you just go to Afganistan and try to live there and that way people will never have to here about your stupid ideas. I hate you so much!!!!1!! You are the worst movie star ever and I hope you and Ben Affleck get a stupid disease and have STUPID LIVES with your muscles and boyish good looks and your carisma!
Oh, what's the use...I have to admit to all of you that Matt's comments REALLY hurt me. I can take it when my two-faced friends in Alaska say that they might not vote for me (to you 'ladies'- don't be surprised if your husbands end up taking an unplanned trip to Cuba when I am VP), but this is Matt Damon we are talking about. I know that he is a liberel and hates me but I was really hoping that if I was Vice President he and I could hang out, maybe have a couple of drinks, listen to some music. Nothing inappropriate (don't worry- Todd! You are the only one for me!), just two friends spending some time together, but I guess that isn't possible now :(
Please, please be a joke.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Hussman is one of my favorite agile speakers, he promotes making processes work to fit the people. I don't want to put words into his mouth, but the takeaways I get from his presentations are to focus on the people and let everything else evolve around them. He says that processes should be descriptive and not prescriptive, that is document what you are doing and work with it and evolve it into the process that you want.
Don't come up with abstract processes that may not have any resemblence to what you are doing and try to force a team to do that.
A perfect example of that was when I worked for a company that was working to become CMMI certified. Part of the CMMI process was to document the processes. One of the features that was touted about CMMI is that ulike [that silly fad] ISO 9000, (you hear the chuckles from the crowd and presenter), these processes are actually used. There would be ample documentation about how to do every aspect of our jobs. Just like the military, we'd have Standard Operating Procedures, SOPs, for every facet of our duties. Instead of miring in paralysis by analysis we'd already have a prescriptive guide for how to do our jobs. Awesome.The story above is a prescriptive set of procedures that were written by someone who didn't 'get it'. Hussman 'gets it' when it comes to documenting process.
Being the simp that I am. I believed that the words that that company's managers had had meanings and I tried to follow the procedures that were documented. I read the Software Engineering Process documentation that was written by our lone project manager. I read the standard operating procedures whenever I was uncertain about what I should do in a situation. I quickly realized that all of the documentation had been written by the same project manager.
This is the project manager who was best known for asking developers how much time could they save if they reduced the quality of the product. From many of my peers and my vantage point, she didn't know the first thing about developing software. But now we came to find that she literally wrote the rule book for how to do it.
For the time that I was there I had a manager who thrived on conflict. He would love to find these processes that don't work and make a call to the person responsible. I don't know if he was more interested in pointing out someone's failures to them or if he just wanted to make sure that things that were broken didn't stay that way. Regardless, with the CMMI work, he was able to make lots of calls.
What came of this experience? Well, the company became something like CMMI Level 3 or 4 certified, but the documentation and 'the process' was mostly ignored. Why wouldn't it be? It was all written by the one person who wasn't busy developing software and there was a disconnect between her values as a project manager and the collective values of the software developers. The net result is a tremendous amount of waste.
Another point that I've heard him make a few times now is his challenge of the construction paradigm that we follow when we partake in software development projects. The construction paradigm is essentially what we follow by doing a waterfall project with clear roles for architects, engineers, project managers, the customer, and builders. It seems to make sense. The metaphor, conceptually works. The architect provides the vision, the engineers make sure that the vision will work, the builders make it, the project manager tracks it, and the customer decides how correct it is and pays for it. We, as people, have done projects like this for years.
I had a laugh this morning at Caribou when I was talking to my coterie of early risers. One is the head of facilities for a local university and the other is a retire electrician. I asked them the same question that David Hussman asked about the construction paradigm. How often are projects delivered that are complete, on time, and under budget. The answer is almost never under normal circumstances. Between these two guys is close to 70 years of collective building experience.
Granted, the current golden child of project management in the twin cities, the 35W bridge is going to be built well ahead of the 'due date'. The reason that it will is because building it is a priority, and an early completion date is accommodatable through a generous budget and massive incentives.
If we want to use that model for our other projects, be prepared to grow the budget significantly to firm up the schedule.
The last point that I took from the presentation was Hussman's message that a project isn't just the developers and it isn't just the developers and the architects. The project involves a community of stakeholders. One exercise that he showed is a Venn diagram showing the people who build, the people who name value, and the people who track the project. A successful project isn't just a dialogue between a project manager and a developer. It isn't a dialogue between an architect and a developer.
To be successful to all parties with an interest, a project must be an open conversation for the people involved.