Here’s a quote from a Steve Jobs interview from 1995:
Many companies get the disease of thinking that a really great idea is 90 percent of the work. And if you just tell all these other people here’s this great idea then of course they can go off and make it happen. And the problem with that is that there’s just a tremendous amount of craftsmanship in between a great idea and a great product. Designing a product is keeping five thousand things in your brain and fitting them all together in new and different ways to get what you want.And every day you discover something new that is a new problem or a new opportunity to fit these things together a little differently.
At BetterAt, we’re lucky that every day brings a new learning about a problem or an opportunity to fit these things together differently. It’s been a fun journey that’s starting to get a lot more interesting.
We all (should) know by now using Apple’s examples that it’s all about sweating the details and getting everything. just. right.
This blog post and lesson by Aaron Swartz is a great reminder that details that impede your user tend to overshadow details that delight your user. I think he hit the nail on the head — speaking from personal experience as both a Kindle and an iPad owner.
Bezos must have spent tons of energy getting this stuff right. And he must be sitting there, pissed, that Steve Jobs gets all these laurels while no one ever recognizes the stuff he’s done. But I don’t think that’s because Jobs is a better marketer and showman than Bezos (that’s the easy way out); it’s because the small details that delight get buried under small details that annoy.
That’s the thing about delightful details: they’re not just another thing you can add on top. Unless you sweat the details all the way through the user experience, the ones that delight quickly get drowned out by the ones that constantly annoy. I hope someone at Amazon will take that to heart.
Much ink has been spilt in the last several weeks following the death of Steve Jobs. Most entrepreneurs, CEOs, and business leaders have come out and wrote posts talking about the things they have learned from Steve while he built one of the world’s most magical companies. I’ll spare you my extended version of the same, but I do want to make it clear that the world has lost someone who could embody creative leadership better than anyone else.
When I first started foundation (my first year) of design school, I had a scribbled “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” sign that I’d see everyone morning (the other scribbled sign said “Fail faster, Succeed sooner”, a quote by David Kelley.) I remember thinking it was weird to memorialize words of a living person as a reminder, but the thought was so prescient that it actually meant something to me each time I glanced at it.
I’ve been inspired by you in so many ways. Thanks for your contributions, Steve.
“To do the useful thing, to say the courageous thing, to contemplate the beautiful thing: that is enough for one man’s life.”
Kottke wrote How to beat Apple. The post is very well written, but here’s my favorite part.
4. I can’t remember if this is my own theory or I read about this on Daring Fireball or something, but the Apple products & services that Apple does well are the ones that Steve Jobs uses (or cares about) and the ones he doesn’t use/care about are less good (or just plain bad). Jobs uses Keynote and it’s very good…but I’m pretty sure Jobs never has had to schedule his own appointments with iCal so that program is less good. Cloud apps and social apps are at the top of this list for a reason…I just don’t think Jobs cares about those things. I mean, he cares, but there’s not a lot of passion there…they aren’t a priority for him so he doesn’t really know how to think about them and attack those problems.
Care. Deeply. About. The. Shit. You. Make. Or stop. Doing it. For fook’s sake.
Then came the touchpad, as most laptops have today. Eventually, Apple tacked on multi-touch on its trackpads as user behavior caught up and people felt really comfortable using two fingers (or more) to perform functions and inputs on the system efficiently, while allowing for the simplest of users to use “1 click” simplicity that the device manufacturer is known for.
Why should notebooks have all the fun? Desktop users, your time has come. The new Magic Trackpad is the first Multi-Touch trackpad designed to work with your Mac desktop computer. It uses the same Multi-Touch technology you love on the MacBook Pro. And it supports a full set of gestures, giving you a whole new way to control and interact with what’s on your screen.
It’s marketed toward desktop users! What other hardware manufacturer would have the rocks to take something that users perceive as inferior (a trackpad) and turn it into a feature of a new product? Brilliant.