Better question, but even harder to answer

It's the mid-1990s, and this programmer pilot fish has just been hired as a manager at a company where most employees are still learning how to use their new desktop computers.

"At best, my boss's knowledge of how to use a PC was limited to e-mail and web browsing," fish says. "My prior experience as a data analyst and Cobol programmer gave me an edge when it came to computers over all my new peers.

"One day, my boss asked me if I could create a few revenue charts for him. I replied that it wouldn't be a problem. He asked me how long it would take. I estimated it would take a couple of days.

"'A couple of days!' he cried out. 'Why so long? Can't you just push a button?'

"I explained that the data needed to create the charts didn't exist in a digital format, only on paper, and I'd have to manually enter all of it. Because I had to create the charts along with my other duties, I would probably have them ready in a couple of days.

"As it turns out, his 'Can't you just push a button?' became a catch-phrase within the company, replacing 'Why will it take so long?'

"Fast forward about 10 years: Those paper forms were finally converted to digital spreadsheets, and with an Excel macro I wrote, those revenue charts are now produced literally at the click of a single button.

"Unfortunately, the boss didn't have a chance to see his vision come true -- he found work elsewhere a few years earlier."

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