How to make your systems “F***proof” and not only foolproof

How to make your systems “F***proof” and not only foolproof

In October 2015, Flipkart blacklisted 40 sellers. They were f***ing the system by selling fake products, defaulting deliveries and stocking out rivals by buying their products and then returning them.

What  is  a System:-

A system could be anything which follows a predefined process for getting things done. That’s why you have heard of phrases like “education system of a country” or “operating system of computer” or  “music system” etc. 

Ok, and what kind of system are we talking about here:-

Here we are talking about a “simulated” system where users interact. For Example an E-commerce site, or a Video Uploading mobile app. We are referring to that system which you create then present it to your users to use - in other words a “Platform”. Like Flipkart, amazon, Facebook etc but the concept applies in designing of all kind of systems.

Whats “F***proof” and why not foolproof includes “F****proof”?

A foolproof system is one which does not have any loopholes in its processes. A user will follow a certain path or a fixed set of instructions, and the system will not get crashed or hanged up or make mistakes. For example, if you want to transfer $65.93 to someone, a foolproof system will not transfer $6593. Moreover, a foolproof system is secured from any possibilities of hackers etc. 

But, a foolproof system does not safeguard itself from getting “f***ed”. The “F***” part comes when the system is used by humans. These humans are not hackers, they are not computer experts, they are not expert of anything at all, but they have the basic natural instinct and they do that sometimes unknowingly and sometimes on-purpose. 

How to make it “f***proof”?

To make your system “f***proof”, stop trusting Human behavior and start believing in “Multiplicationism”. (don’t worry - just coined the term)  .

Similarly in Flipkart’s case, a “seller” came into the system as “buyer” and purchased merchandise from her competitor to stock her out. Then, by using the Flipkart’s over generous refund policy he refunded the products. This is a classic example of “f***ing” a “foolproof” system. 

To make your system “F***proof” just keep one thing in mind while designing it: all of the “Roles” defined in your system can be played out by a single “Human” and you have to find out which info “Role A” has which he may misuse in “Role B”.

Behind the scenes:-

While creating “multi-user” systems, we often forget how our programs are completely unaware of humans. 

We generally give a figure like ‘x’ no of ‘people’ are currently using our system. But we do not have any way to determine (unless we use bio-metrics) that all of those people logged in are NOT a single person using multiple devices. So the correct statement would be “‘x’ No of Logins are currently active”. 

    Always trust your instincts, they never lie.