Tag product design

Windows ex-honcho Jim Allchin on WIndows Vista in 2006: I would buy a Mac.

I am not sure how the company lost sight of what matters to our customers (both business and home) the most, but in my view we lost our way. I think our teams lost sight of what bug-free means, what resilience means, what full scenarios mean, what security means, what performance means, how important current applications are, and really understanding what the most important problems [our] customers face are. I see lots of random features and some great vision, but that doesn’t translate into great products.

I would buy a Mac today if I was not working at Microsoft. ... Apple did not lose their way.

--Jim Allchin, co-president of Microsoft platforms, in 2006 on a private email thread with BillG

JimAll was the top guy on Windows back when I was at Microsoft. I had never heard this quote until now.

I can't help but wonder what was the true failure of Vista. Was it really lack of leadership? Or was it just pure numbers? Windows had at least a thousand engineers with commit access -- possibly more. OS X must have had still several hundred -- several times fewer.

Keep it lean and you can move faster. Be small, and do big things. That's what I learned the hard way in my time at Microsoft.

There's space for innovation everywhere, even where you least expect it. Like your vacuum cleaner.

Sir James Dyson has unveiled a new motor. He's got 50 guys working on it in the UK. At first glance, vacuum technology seems like the least sexy thing in the world to be working on. Yet Dyson's team has created the fastest motor in the world, and all so that you can make your house or car cleaner.

I think this is a testament to how much there really is left to be done in the world. No, it's not easy. No shortcuts. But you can create anything, and if it's good, it will sell. The world desperately needs this kind of innovation. And it can happen in almost any market, sexy or not. The Dyson motor is a wakeup call and reminder to those who want to build great things: There is so much to build, and so much to make better.

What will you do?

Merlin Mann talks about getting off your ass and just getting your ish together -- start creating.

Here are my semi-verbatim notes out of this great 27 minute talk (listen, it's good for you!) --

Don't worry too much about the process.

Before you become awesome at something, you've got to do something. And you're going to suck at it for a long time. It's just the rest stop to being awesome, though.

We create mental barriers around ourselves before we get started. E.g. if I just had this one little thing that was a little different, I'd feel so good about starting this project. I can't begin to start on this project before I work out the tagging taxonomy!

There's a part of you that is incredibly afraid of people seeing you sucking at something. You see people who seem to create great things the second they touch the keyboard, but actually they're just used to letting other people see how much they suck.

My fingers have to move for about 20 minutes before anything good comes out. You have to write your way out of a thinkng block but you can't think yourself out of a writing block.

Stop creating barriers for yourself that it has to be awesome your first time around. There's a mean Dad voice in your head shouting you down -- I don't have the right tools, I have to watch this video, I don't know how to do ___.

Trick from 43folders: I'm not allowed to go to the bathroom / go to Reddit / get a drink of water until I ___ -- e.g. write 100 words, etc.

Constraints matter. You can sit in your office for 16 hours and not write a word. But if you say you're only allowed to write for 2 hours, then you'll get a lot more done.

Develop an insane amount of tolerance for having no idea something is turning into. Don't sweat monetizing it. Don't sweat AdSense. You don't know what it's turning into. If you let your brain give you ideas, then you can execute on them.

You have everything you need right now to start. You don't need that crazy space pen or that Tablet PC.

Once you get past starting -- you've got to start polishing. You have to start, then have something, and only then add the judgmental part of it. If you judge before you create, then you'll end up just leaving mean comments on people's blogs. (LOL)

"I gotta go make something now, and I'm not going to take any more input until I make something." Stop reading wikipedia and stop doing research.

"If I only had a little bit more time, this could be really good." We put ourselves in self-defeating scenarios -- that's why we turn papers in late. We have an excuse this way.

Great talk -- reminds me of Ira Glass on storytelling

Jeff Bezos breaks with tradition when he sells the Kindle. Emotional marketing at its best.

Jeff Bezos is a trailblazer of the first order. In this Wired article he explains why the Kindle breaks from the traditional business models of subsidized hardware (e.g. cell phones for 99 cents)

It makes so much sense for Kindle. People are willing to pay more up front if it means no hidden fees later (no monthly fees for the connected Whispernet service, and no additional markup on each book). We are opened up to the unlimited nature of this sliver of a device -- imagine, every book at our disposal for cheaper than we'd pay for the treekilling one!

The alternative sucks. Yeah the device is free, but I gotta pay for connectivity and even more for books? Yechhh.

It's emotional marketing at its best.