Khoi, who’s consistently one of the best writers on the web, recently took a swipe at enterprise software. Who can blame him? We agree.

If you work at a big company and you’ve ever had to do something that should be simple, like file an expense report, make changes to your salary withholdings — or, heck, if you’ve ever tried to apply for a job at a big company — then you’ve probably encountered these confounding user experiences. And you probably cursed out loud.

Then he opines:

I have to wonder: what is it about the world of enterprise software that routinely produces such inelegant user experiences?

My take: The Buyers Aren’t the Users

The people who buy enterprise software aren’t the people who use enterprise software. That’s where the disconnect begins. And it pulls and pulls and pulls until the user experience is split from the buying experience so severely that the software vendors are building for the buyers, not the users. The experience takes a back seat to the feature list, future promises, and buzz words.

This is one of the reasons we think enterprise is a dirty word. It’s also why it’s an absolute pleasure to design products for what we call the Fortune 5,000,000.

The Fortune 5,000,000 are the the small businesses, the side-businessess, the freelancers. The people who buy our products are the people who use our products. If they don’t get value on both the financial side and the productivity side they don’t stick around.

We have to make the money happy and the people happy. In our market they’re the same person. In the enterprise market they are often different people in different departments in different buildings who sit at different lunch tables.

In the world of small business software the product — not the salesperson — does the talking. There’s no camouflaging value when the buyer is the user.