Showing posts from January, 2020


The Boeing 737MAX crisis is a crisis of over-optimization.

"Over-optimization" is a curios term: "Optimal" means the best possible state of being. So how can something be over-optimized? You wouldn't say someone is "over-healthy," and much less would you expect that person to be ill. Yet over-optimization killed two plane-loads of people and grounded a plane that cost billions to develop, idling billions of dollars more in finished goods sitting on aprons, runways, and parking lots.

Boeing made a safe and very efficient airliner. Then, in pursuit of even greater efficiency, they made it less safe. Boeing over-optimized.

There are other elements to this tragedy, especially in in that Boeing could have chosen to mitigate some of the risks they created in over-optimizing by adding redundant sensors, better warnings of failures, etc.

Boeing could also have done, months ago, things like what they announced in January of 2020, that 737 MAX pilots should re…