“What was less than extraordinary?”
Kyle Neath wrote a post that has been kicking around in my head these last couple of days, resonating more strongly with each hour. Simple titled Product, it cuts to the heart of both product ownership and user experience. Note the lower-case for both of those terms. I’m not talking about job titles – I’m talking about whether you and I as builders truly care about the products we own and the experiences we craft for our fellow humans. Please, go read the piece. I’d love to hear what you think. Here are a couple of great quotes that I expect to revisit in the weeks, months and years ahead:
Caught up in a race for money and fame, we lost our focus on the important. We talk of venture capital, recruiting tactics, dreams of disrupting industries, stock options, growth hacks, and the superiority of our tools. We do not talk of the bugs, the quirks, the difficulties of using our creations, the exploitation of the public, or the worst secret of all: software is broken, we are responsible, and we’re making a lot of money off it.
We’ve become obsessed with process and tools. We’ve stopped caring about the product.
That hurts. It hurts because it’s true.
I guess it’s not surprising that so much software is terrible. It’s easy to be lazy, and it’s hard to build good product. But we get paid to invent the future. The future! That’s an incredible opportunity that blows my mind every day.
Damn right we do. That’s a pretty awesome opportunity. It’s also an awesome responsibility that we should be much more mindful of carrying.
Today’s belief in ineluctable certainty is the true innovation-killer of our age. In this environment, the best an audacious manager can do is to develop small improvements to existing systems — climbing the hill, as it were, toward a local maximum, trimming fat, eking out the occasional tiny innovation — like city planners painting bicycle lanes on the streets as a gesture toward solving our energy problems. Any strategy that involves crossing a valley — accepting short-term losses to reach a higher hill in the distance — will soon be brought to a halt by the demands of a system that celebrates short-term gains and tolerates stagnation, but condemns anything else as failure.
Neal Stephenson from Innovation Starvation