It just doesn’t matter 16 Feb 2006
192 comments Latest by r3n
Today I spent a lot of time fielding questions about why we did this or that with Campfire. Why we added certain things, why we left out others, why the UI looks like this and not like that, etc. It’s always a blast to interact with people who are genuinely curious (and not just there to bust balls).
My favorite answer to the “why?” question is always: “Because it just doesn’t matter.” I think that statement embodies what makes a product great. Figuring out what matters and leaving out the rest.
Some common questions:
“Why time stamps every 5 minutes? Why not time stamp every chat line?” Answer: It just doesn’t matter. How often do you need to track a conversation by the second or even the minute? Certainly not 95% of the time. 5 minute stamps are sufficient because anything more specific just doesn’t matter.
“Why don’t you allow bold or italic or colored formatting in the chats?” Answer: It just doesn’t matter. If you need to emphasize something use the trusty CAPS LOCK key or toss a few *’s around the word or phrase. Those solutions don’t require additional software, tech support, or have a learning curve. Besides, heavy formatting in a simple text-based chat just doesn’t matter.
“Why don’t you show the total number of people in the room at a given time?” Answer: It just doesn’t matter. Everyone’s name is listed so you know who’s there, but what difference does it make if there’s 12 or 16 people? If it doesn’t change your behavior then it just doesn’t matter.
Would these things be nice to have? Sure. Would they be great to have? Sure. Would they be cool to have? You bet. But do they really matter? Nope. And that’s why we left them out.
The best designers and the best programmers aren’t the ones with the best skills, or the nimblest fingers, or the ones who can rock and roll with photoshop or vim, they are the ones that can determine what just doesn’t matter. That’s where the real gains are made.
Most of the time you spend is wasted time on things that just don’t matter. If you can cut out the work and thinking that just doesn’t matter you’ll achieve productivity you’ve never imagined. It’s there if you just don’t pay attention to the things that don’t matter.