Mobile Devices and the Professional Golfer|An analogy

Performance is developed and engineered, not bought and packaged.


golf all
The professional Golfer, like Tiger Woods or Jason Day and the Mobile computer, like the iPhone or the Galaxy are more alike than you might think when it comes to real world golfing and real world computing and the metrics that define performance. There are purposeful obscurities in their respective markets. Things like commercialism and endorsements and sponsorship. Also there are things like psychology: popularity and perception. But one thing that cannot be affected by opinion and perception: Performance in the real world. So when it all comes down to the purpose of each to do their job, it doesn’t matter a lot what’s on the outside or what is says on the packaging. What matters most? Let’s find out.


the ball of golf Drawing an analogy, we could say that there is golfer and there is gear, as there is hardware and there is firmware…or the operating system in a mobile computer. The athlete is the operating mechanism by which the golfing gets done. But  you can’t be a good golfer without golf clubs or a golf ball. So the clubs are important. They are the conduit through which skill, technique and the essence of the athlete are projected to the ball. The ball is simply the mark of past performance, or a benchmark. Like the environment in which golf is played, there are variables in computing from the scope of operations in the real world. Many would say that instructions are instructions and there is no deviation in the mathematical computations. While the algorithms for a solution are based on rules, there are still dynamics in the environment. interrupts from input caused by the user, and other facets in the software that the developer takes into consideration from instruction to instruction for whatever he believes would be best to factor into the process that eventually produces the solution. These would be comperable to wind, elevation, hazards and the guy who says, ‘jackass’ at the top of your back-swing. The golfer can assess, based on his past performance, if he can hit over trees, fade the ball in a dog-leg right to the pin, or lay-up for an approach shot. The golfer can also just choose to hit the ball, watch it drop, walk to the ball, hit, wash rinse repeat. The planning and execution are what separates good golfers from average golfers. Average golfers play their shot from where they hit it last. Good golfers place their shot based on where they want to hit the ball next. Some calculate where they want to be for their approach 2 and sometime 3 swings in the future.

The game of golf isn’t linear, but it can be played that way if you are lazy like me. It is never the same even if the same player plays the same hole with the same equipment. Fatigue, mental concentration, distractions, they all impact performance. For some, ball placement is key…because if you place the ball in a position that gives your next shot a better view at the pin, then you are striving for efficiency and for proficiency. If you simply hit the ball for distance because for you golf means: swing, walk, swing, walk, then you will surely achieve mediocrity very quickly.

While computers don’t have bad days or lack of concentration, the instructions for execution vary from program and design. If the engineer has vision and creativity and a talent for what the user would need at this point and in the near future, using that talent, he will look for ways that a portion of the solution can be predicted to exist before the execution of an instruction that is set to occur a few steps ahead. For some, the job is to mathematically solve for the current problem. For others, the job is to solve for that problem keeping in mind the next branch of the equation…while using the fewest operations and making every clock cycle matter…like golf is about the fewest strokes possible and making every shot matter. If the engineer coding means: write, wait, read, write, wait, read, then mediocrity is again quickly achieved.

The ability to have vision into what might happen next based on what happened last and to assess create contingency based on that possibility is efficiency in execution. Writing code with the flexibility to deviate from linearity when following instruction would mean redundant data processing or even useless wait-states or for empty clock cycles occur makes a computer ‘slow’ That makes a slow computer no matter how fast the core clock is. Clock cycles spent putting together parts of the solution when the condition allows for the data to be prepped and presented would yield an effective user experience by discarding the instructions that would normally be required. Because of in the process now are not needed because  of what has recently transpired, makes the computer faster. Not faster in the sense of clock speed or frequency, faster in a real life time scale. Speed in the perception of the user. The next time your device just sits there, waiting for something to happen before it provides you with what you are waiting for…could be due to code inefficiency.

This is why ‘slower’ computers can be faster than ‘faster’ computers. Timing of a circuit is based on a clock. The clock is constant, just like….well a clock. Every second, you can basically count on the second-hand to move one tick. Clocks on computers are the same way. Every clock cycle, which is measured from when the second-hand starts to when it starts again, is called a cycle.  These cycles continue forever, just like time…until you turn it off. But a fast clock doesn’t make the computer efficient. It just makes the clock fast. The processor frequency is derived from the clock. It will +count irrespective of what is happening. These cycles happen millions of times per second, but that doesn’t mean it is doing anything except counting, like when your kid says she will count to one million while you are folding laundry. Aww that’s so cute, you would say. You are going to count to a million. Would it change your perception of value if she counted really, really fast? Does counting faster or slower mean anything into the over all value of performance of the counting?


So when you see things like 1.4Ghz, or 2.8Ghz, think to yourself. Great. One counts faster…like my kid counting while I’m doing laundry. This is a function of hardware. It’s important, but only if something happens at every clock cycle….at every incremental number. Otherwise it’s just counting.

Sound crazy?

Well it is. Not because it sounds crazy, but because you believe it. You have been conditioned to believe that faster, bigger and stronger is better. But not so much in golf, most certainly not in computing. But in marketing, they know that people like things simple. So they tell you one phone has 3 G’s and one has 4 G’s. If they both have 4 G’s , then one has stronger 4 G’s one has more reliable 4 G’s, and I kid you not…one carrier which happens to be mine, markets their 4 G’s to be quicker. I won’t get into why no one has 4G in another story. It’s already written.

Buying Performance

When was the last time someone became the #1 golfer on the leaderboard because he went out and bought faster clubs, a bigger bag to hold more stuff, made a commercial to convey that the other players fans in the gallery are stupid and then bought the same clothing that had the same colors as the other golfers were wearing? When was the last time a professional golfer was given a tour trophy because of the size of his or her fan base and the number of sponsors he or she had? When was the last time a Golfing professional  talked about how fast he was at  golfing? Have you ever thought to yourself, “Man…If I could just buy some faster clubs, a bigger glove and shoes with more spikes, I could be a better golfer.”


Sure you have. Everyone does. But that’s what separates us from professionals. Professionals know their performance has not been bought. They know that the clubs and balls and equipment they do commercials for doesn’t pose a threat to their standings because those aren’t the things that make a great golfer. If anyone could be just as  good as Tiger Woods, earn as much money and win as many championships by purchasing the equipment he uses, don’t you think people would buy it? You’re right. They do buy it. That’s because people who don’t understand where performance comes from, want that same power and performance…until the cameras turn off and the lights go out, and Woods leaves to spend a few hours in the gym, and another 18 before lunch.
Now, there is science and engineering behind sports equipment. Some gear really is better than others. But if Clubs were rated in MHz and MB and number of cores, how would you perceive the impact of that on your game? For example:

Big club

  • Club A: has 1.8 GigaClub 3 core impact face, and a 2G flexible shaft with 64K Grips
  • Club B: has 2.3 GigaClub 4 core impact face, and a 4G Flexible shaft with 64K Grips AND it also has another 1.8Giga Club 4 core impact face as well.

Which one would you buy?

Most would swing them both on the simulator (which is bullshit) and pick the one that ‘felt’ the best. Some would ask, who the OEM is (brand shopper) and factor that in. Then would come cost. Club A costs 36% more than Club B. What about market share? Club B is in a class of clubs that globally cover almost 80 percent of all clubs sold. What separates the class? The golfer. How? People who buy club A believe the golfer makes the club great, those who buy Club B believe the club makes the golfer great.

Don’t answer. This is a hypothetical, of sorts. The metrics are accurate and taken from the top 2 Mobile phone computers in 2015. But this is how performance is marketed. How the information gets analyzed is up to you. The decision is yours and if you are happy with the outcome then that’s what matters. How the information is processed is also what separates marketing from analysis, operators from academics and businessmen from politicians. We both know that swings are developed, not bought. You can buy all the clubs you want, but until you can buy a swing,

The same thing exists in mobile computing. But there are different reasons for choosing the hardware that gets deployed. There is a limit on what more/faster hardware can do for the overall system performance. There is even the possibility that dumping expensive hardware to compensate for the shortcoming in the operating system. One must build the solution on the problem. If you build a solution when there is no purpose, how can that possibly be useful? If you build a solution based on the specifics of nothing in order to appeal to anything then everything we do is swing, walk, read, write, swing walk, read, write. This is the approach some golfers take, and it is the approach some OEM’s for operating system take.

Why doesn’t everyone just go out and buy the best and fastest hardware? Because superior hardware doesn’t make you a superior golfer. $500 drivers might get you Purse+15 yards on your drive, but if you can’t hit farther than the ladies tee box, +15 yards from a $500 driver means nothing. You still hit the ball with your purse…its just a really nice Michael Koors golf ball purse. It will look beautiful on your next shot wearing ankle shorts. Don’t forget your heels. No matter what you buy, no matter how well crafted or engineered your clubs are, one thing hasn’t changed after you leave GolfSmith with better hardware is: YOU. You still suck. You have the same crappy swing, the same knowledge gaps, the same poor attitude. You still look up before the club face strikes the ball, they will still thank you for helping them keep the water hazard level high in the summer because they don’t have to fill it, and they will still reserve a faster cart for you…just you to compensate for all the time you spend in the second cut looking for your ball. Don’t hate them. They have to regulate pace somehow. So you claim you are better than the competition because you (the golfing operating mechanism) just acquired a leather golf bag and the best clubs money can buy.

Who believes you when you say that?

The same people who think a mobile computer is a better because the hardware spec numbers on the side of the box are bigger. Hardware components in mobile computing are a small part of the performance picture. Components are important, but they aren’t the most important thing. Like the power and performance of a golfer is dependent on the execution of his over-all game. The mechanics of his swing, planning and placement of the next shot, knowing when to lay up, not hitting too far. You don’t win the game based on the number of yards your ball flies. You win the game based on the number of swings it took you to move onto the next hole. The fewest swings.

It’s called efficiency. Just like golfers the efficient mobile computers perform the best. Here is the result of the club a club b exercise above. Club A is on top, followed by Club B.

best 2015 comoohte

Do you golf?

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