Completing a tasks, documenting the problem and what you did to solve it serves as a kind of automation for the future. Anyone can read it and pattern match to the situation before carrying out the sames set of tasks to fix it again. This also ends up becoming research or a spec for how to automate the task programmatically (a higher order form of automation).
- Automation of even low-level tasks is an example of compounding interest
- Humans are the great interop layer
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Documentation as Customer Success
Self-serve businesses that sell complicated software (like an API) can use documentation as a way of augmenting or replacing customer success. For example, early Stripe did not have sales or support but created outstanding technical documentation that was always available—you didn’t need to schedule a call to discuss implementation or answer questions, you could figure it out yourself.
Automation Reduces Marginal Cost of Nonautomated Tasks
In a recent study, researches looked at the effects of automation on in a supermarket. They found that by automating the process of collecting payment, productivity of the non-automated task of scanning items increased 10%. An explanation for the improvement is that automation enabled specialization and specialization reduces the marginal cost of the other tasks which increases effort and therefore productivity.