It’s not what you do, but how you do it

By | January 12, 2009

This is a universal statement.  It is not what you do.  It is how you do it.  Some examples:

  1. MP3 players were pretty popular before the iPod came out.  iPod added iTunes, the spinning dial and a nicer visual design.  Same for iPhone’s touch screen and wifi access.
  2. Honda had the Insight hybrid for years before the Prius.  But it was ugly.  The Prius made hybrids acceptable because the design was unique, but not stupid looking.
  3. Barack Obama had the identical policies as Hillary Clinton and John Edwards.  However, he explained them better.  The way he said them made us like him.

I try to take this lesson with the software I work on as well as other parts of my life.  It’s not what you do, but how you do it.

When you are building some piece of software, think, “How could I make people LOVE this?”  Ask, “Do I love this?  Why do I live this?”.  If you do not absolute LOVE how your software works, then you need to examine how others will experience it.  People, in general, can tell whether you love your own software.  They can smell bullshit a mile away.

You may be successful without lovable software, but it’s much easier if the software is great.  Spend the time to make it lovable.  Have fewer features and more love.  Your success isn’t assured, but this will make your chances a whole lot better.

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