- The less people are aware of you, the better idea it is to give your product away
- “A lot has to do with the ratio of possible consumers of the free product who might be converted to paying customers to the total market size. If I have awareness with .01% of the target market, giving copies away to raise awareness to 10% of the market, where 10% of those might convert (1% total) is a good deal. But if I have awareness with 60% of the target market, and give my product away, with a 10% conversion rate, I’ve lost a great deal.”
- Incomprehensible intersections
- Photos of traffic-routing gems.
- Software development “inventory”
- “In software development, inventory is anything that you’ve started and you haven’t gotten done. It’s ‘partially done’ work. In manufacturing if you start making something and it is in-process, it’s not sold, it is inventory. In development it’s the same thing. If you started developing something and it’s not done, it is inventory. What you’re trying to do Lean software development is the least amount of ‘partially done’ work as possible. You want to go from understanding what you’re supposed to do to having it done and deployed and in somebody’s hands as rapidly as possible.” [tx PA]
- Marko Karppinen’s CSS column exercise
- Click the icons on the upper right to change the number of columns and justification.
- The meaning of “The Medium is the Message”
- “It is only too typical that the ‘content’ of any medium blinds us to the character of the medium.’ And it is the character of the medium that is its potency or effect – its message.”
- Soigné = make it perfect
- “When you have a really important diner – an influential food critic, a chef you admire, anyone the higher ups deem to be important – the soigné level rises to something absurd like “super soigné.” Anything short of culinary perfection means certain death for a cook…Poor orders were not considered – no sauce on the side people, no special requests, no well-done meats. If they didn’t know how to eat, they weren’t going to appreciate what we were putting on their plates.” [via JK]
- The command line comeback
- “Standard GUIs, with their drop down menus, check buttons, and tree-lists just cannot compare to the range of options that a text interface gives effortlessly. In just five alphanumeric characters, you can choose one out of 100,000,000 possible sequences. And choosing any one sequence is just as fast as any other sequence (typing five characters takes roughly 1 second). I challenge you to come up with a non text-based interface that can do as well.”
- The value of solving hard problems on your own
- “A lot of investors and advisors will tell entrepreneurs to do the least amount of work possible, so that they can get going quickly. You can get going more quickly this way, but then you’re stuck trying to build a real business, instead of just a thin UI on top of someone else’s business. If you’re making all your money off of AdSense (and you’re not Google!), who really owns the relationship with your customers? Most people don’t think this way, and they should.”
- Honda and speed
- “When we do anything, even though it may appear on the surface to be an advantage, we think about how it’s going to affect customers upstream and downstream. If what I do saves me five minutes but causes the customer downstream 15 to 20 minutes of extra work, then it’s not a good idea.”
- Where's Digg for photos?
- “Digg users have begun calling with increased volume for the creation of a special section of the site designated for photographs and pictures. Two requests to this effect have received more than 6 and 8 thousand diggs in the past 2 weeks. It’s hard to imagine that some sort of photo section of the wildly popular news site won’t be introduced soon.”
- “Each weekday, The A.V. Club’s Videocracy chart combs the Internet to track the most-talked-about online video content. Drawing from YouTube, Google Video, ifilm, Super Deluxe, and other popular video sources, we figure out what the Internet is watching and bring it to you unfiltered.”
- A.S.S. (Attention Surplus Syndrome)
- “A disorder that allows people to reach goals and complete tasks. Also known as the opposite of A.D.D. Michelangelo probably had A.S.S.”
- Bill Simmons on sports broadcasters: "Chemistry is 90% of the battle"
- “It just boggles my mind that networks don’t value chemistry more. Every No. 1 announcing ‘team’ is more like a corporate merger: Al Michaels is a big name, John Madden is a big name, so of course they’re combined into MaddenMichaels. Meanwhile, the best 2006 NFL broadcast was the one ESPN threw together for a Raiders-Chargers game with a one-time crew that included Ron Jaworski and Dick Vermeil, two old friends. We felt like we were sitting on the sofa with them for three hours. I loved it. Why not hire more friends to announce together? Then we wouldn’t have so many teams sounding like they’re on an awkward blind date.”
- Top 10 in-game dunks
Nateon 09 Mar 07
Jordan should have at least 2 in the top 10 dunks. Yeesh.
Charles Bocockon 09 Mar 07
Command-line comeback – it’s true.
The new Windows Server 2007 (“Longhorn”) now lets you install and run it with just a command-line interface – no GUI components.
If that’s not a testament to the promise of a comeback (a product called “Windows” that has no windows), then I don’t know what is.
Dr. Peteon 09 Mar 07
Love the quote on software as inventory. The overhead of unfinished software is all of the time and energy invested that has yet to see the light of day. We had a lot of problems with starting too many things at my old company (mostly, due to saying “yes” too often) and then back-burnering them. There’s a very real cost associated with that inventory, even if it doesn’t take up physical space.
Markoon 09 Mar 07
Another interesting software concept from Lean Software Development (and the Toyota Way) is Mudda – or Waste. It is all the stuff you make that is thrown away – not incorporated in the end product – those nasty never used features that you thought would be really cool, but took over 80% of the time to develop the whole thing and that no one ever uses…
Andyon 09 Mar 07
The space that all those unfinished projects are taking up is on harddrives and in your heads and mindshare. It’s not physical, but even non-physical space can be finite if it’s difficult to juggle its contents—it’s space that could be being taken up with more valuable, useful-because-it’s-finished stuff. Often times, having something finished causes an explosion in the actual amount of space and mindshare it occupies, as other people get involved and start doing their part. However, it ceases to be the detrimental kind of inventory at that point, it’s not just taking up space in a warehouse (bit/idea storage mediums) you’re paying rent on (having to maintain). It’s closer to doing actual work or making money.
Of course, if you’re a tinkerer, actually “finishing” something may mean it falls into disuse and ceases to be interesting.
nmbon 09 Mar 07
“In just five alphanumeric characters, you can choose one out of 100,000,000 possible sequences.”
And you’re good to go (start being faster, more productive) after you’ve memorized 100,000 possible sequences.
Huh??on 09 Mar 07
How’s that CSS column switching happening? Did columns finally become a workable CSS option and I didn’t notice???
Mimoon 09 Mar 07
The dunks man. The dunks.
yepon 09 Mar 07
But they chose one of Jordan’s most boring… and they stuck him at #3? And give Dr. J the #1 spot.
AJon 09 Mar 07
That John Starks dunk was amazing but lets face it 6’10 Grant is a girl
IHT used to have a nice layout switching thing happening shame they dumped that UI for a new widget offering the user a three column format in a popup window.
Noel Jacksonon 09 Mar 07
True multi-column support is in CSS3 (which is a working draft and will it ever see the light of day?).
MT Hearton 09 Mar 07
What? No picture of the Hemel Hempstead roundabout of 6 roundabouts?
Scott Meadeon 10 Mar 07
Software Inventory: The Poppendiek’s certainly have more experience than I do and I appreciate their contributions to Lead devlopment, yet I think their overall approach preaches too much fear of wasted work. From labeling anything the end customer doesn’t find important “waste”, to delaying decisions for more information, to waiting until just before alpha testing to design the user interface. Sometimes inventory/waste is there because you want to pitch an idea or try out something internally. You try it, find it’s not quite right and put it on the shelf to maybe become something else when the time is right. I often build the user interface right up front because it is cheap to do and is a great tool for communicating with users. If we build a screen and it’s wrong, I still got value from walking through it with users, seeing their response, getting feedback. The cost to do this is sometimes much less than other planning and research approaches that would have you know if it’s the right direction before starting because no one wants to through stuff out. How many people really decide what you want for a user interface “just before alpha testing”? Am I just living in a different world or am I a man without a clue?
Scott Meadeon 10 Mar 07
s/Lead devlopment/Lean Development/
Markoon 10 Mar 07
No Scott, I probably think you’ve got it right. At Brains4All we often experiment with UI and Designs and find it very valuable.
It is important to realize that Lean and Toyota are manufacturing methodologies that have had immense success when adapted and applied to software engineering.
In my opinion even Agile methodologies are adapted to software development best.
Web application design and development have very different cost structures as opposed to software development. In addition to that there is also the creative and esthetical aspect to consider.
In Lean – it is often the software that is dynamic and the underlying functionalities may change up to the very last minute –therefore it makes sense to delay developing the UI to the very last – because only then do you know what exactly it has to interface with in the first place.
In web design – it is often the design that is dynamic. The design of the UI is (much) defining the needed functionality and code. Therefore in our business it may make sense to do the Designs and UI first – change them around – and to delay coding to the very last instance. Start coding only once you have designs in place that you (and your customer) are happy with.
It may just be a matter of context – of balancing the two – and to do the work that you’re least sure of first, to eliminate risk. You can keep the safe stuff, the work you are extremely comfortable with to the last – because that is easiest to define.
Our industries’ challenge is to adapt or develop methodologies or processes that will help us take in and embrace the creative and design aspects of our work as well as engineering and software development.
I think it is sensible to look at Agile and Lean and to see what practices can be useful in our industry as well – or see how and where we can adapt them to fit our needs.
37sígnals have been doing the groundwork for this with “Getting real”.
In my eyes, waste is the opposite of value. We need to look at what we’re producing and whether it is really valuable or if we need to “Get Real” and stop producing senseless piles of documents the client needs to sign off – just to cover our asses. ;)
If experimenting with Design is giving you real value – if it works for you and your customers, please, keep doing it!
However there is value in throwing something out as well. Extreme Programming has a “Spike” practice in which we build something just to learn or experiment to see how something could be done or how some new ideas could be implemented. We write the spike in code, but we have a rule to throw away the code once we’ve established what we need.
Then we build it for real – forcing ourselves to integrate our deeper understanding into the code.
While we were building the spike we did not jet understand the material as we do now that we’ve finished it.
Throwing out the spike and starting fresh will incorporate our new insights into the new code (or design). It will be better for it – by an order of magnitude.
Sometimes the experience is the value.
Eamonon 10 Mar 07
This discussion is closed.