Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument on a 10 year old sexual discrimination law suit brought against Wal-Mart.1 I was listening to a summary of the oral argument yesterday when I heard this:
A company once told me someone had offered to build permanent disability calculators for their website in three months for $7,500. One said six months and $20,000. Recently, another suggested it would take them a year and $40,000. My response is usually some variation on “You’ve got to take that deal. You’re wasting your time talking to me.”
It’s no big secret that building a great product takes a lot of work. The important thing to remember is that just because something is easy-to-use, that doesn’t mean its easy-to-make. 1
Let’s take the iPhone for example. Everyone will concede its an easy phone to use. However, it was released more than two years ago on 6/29/2007. 2 In that time the other players – BlackBerry, LG, Nokia, and Palm have all been trying to catch up. If this easy-to-use phone were easy-to-build everyone would have their own version.
Look, there’s no special magic to building a website like this. Really, anyone can do it. All you have to do is learn the calculations inside-and-out, deconstruct the math involved in the various calculations, learn some client and server side programming languages, learn a content management system, make it all work together, keep current on changes in the law, start all over again each time the law changes, and earn the respect of the workers’ compensation community. Once done, you’ll have your very own workers’ compensation calculator website!
To return to the lesson of the iPhone, building a touch screen phone that can play music and surf the web is totally doable. Doing it right is another matter entirely.
Yesterday I received an e-mail from a beta tester, Jeff Duarte, who was having trouble with one of my calculators. He said that he didn’t really understand how to use a particular calculator. My response was:
The problem is not you, its me. :) If I designed my calculator better you wouldn’t have any questions.
Seriously – sorry Jeff, its my bad. My goal is to make these calculators so easy and intuitive to use that no workers’ compensation professional would have any trouble figuring out how to use them. If you don’t figure out how to use it just by looking at it, I designed it wrong. 1 Getting feedback is a very important and instructive process for me. It lets me figure out what works for people and what doesn’t.
The good news is that Jeff”s suggestions have given me an idea on how to make two calculators easier to use and for two entirely new features!
A defense attorney friend of mine called me up yesterday to say (I’m paraphrasing here), “You jackass. Thanks to your Ogilvie proof every Applicant’s attorney I know is calling me up, gloating, and asking for 18 points on top of the whole person impairment on every case! Why the hell did you do that???”1 My first thought was of my favorite quote from Swingers.2 What I actually said was something along the lines of:
It’s not like CAAA wouldn’t have found out about Ogilvie if it wasn’t for Jay Shergill mentioning it in a blog post.
For the moment, let’s set aside the issue of whether California’s injured workers have gotten a raw deal since SB899. Suppose there’s an injured worker with a finger injury, stays on temporary disability for two years, and is immediately made permanent and stationary. If instead they get a 0% WPI, they get nothing. If they gets a 1% WPI, Ogilvie tells us this person gets a DFEC adjusted WPI of 19%.
Nearly every litigated case involves an extended period of temporary disability and a whole person impairment less than 45.4Ogilvie effectively removes the first 18% permanent partial disability levels.