Recently I was shown a product marketing itself as providing geological data layer for apps. A sketchy product at a glance and maybe scammy in the worst case. The developer is unable to provide direct answers and finding it difficult to provide details on how the product really works.
They may/may not have developed some sort of a geo data system but for me by looking at it, it was mostly fetching data from Google Maps API and using that data and displaying it in a flashy dashboard and marketing their product as something unique, and providing advanced features than Google maps.
Similarly, “snake oil salesman” is a common expression used to describe someone who sells, promotes, or is a general proponent of some valueless or fraudulent cure, remedy, or solution.Wikepedia
The bottom line is the product adds nothing valuable to the existing product, and using Google Maps API we would be able to create something similar and incorporated to the existing product if it “required“.
Some coming back to the title, this is why every organization not just a tech startup or a tech company should have a CTO. Every government organization, non profit, parliament, the congress, senate, a charity should have a CTO or get help from a CTO. So you can protect your organization from spending money on “snake oil salesman”.
This is because unlike in a startup or in a tech company, most government offices/small businesses do not have a CTO or some C level executive which can help in decision making. And since majority of these administrators don’t have any idea about technology and can get attracted to and pay for the flashy new toy without understanding what’s happening underneath.
I think this maybe the reason that government organizations fall for unwanted or half baked technologies and ending up with disasters. Read how half baked Stay Safe app nearly led to a large data breach.
These are administrative decisions are made above the grade of a developer of a mid level manager, and since they can’t change or influence the administrative decisions, there should be someone who can influence these decision makers who does not have any knowledge in IT getting snake oiled by the next “snake oil salesman” that comes across you.
I know there is nothing wrong with reinventing the wheel, but the problem is when you market someone else’s wheel as something of your own.