“Real Artists Ship”[Steve Jobs]
Steve Jobs said “Real Artist Ship” to motivate his team working on introducing the Macintosh in the early years of Apple.
Creating a great product is more than just its novelty and innovation. It’s also selecting the path to getting the job done. To completing it and getting it out the door. This is typically the most difficult and complex part of the process. An art which separates the Real artists from the artists (see; 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration).
Having a novel idea is great. But making a great product means providing something that is great in more ways than one.
As fantastic as the idea may be, if its sits on the basement work bench, in the garage or in your mind then it’s not going anywhere.
For what its worth it does not exist. And, that’s not worth very much to anyone.
“Don’t Worry Be Crappy” [Guy Kawasaki]
As developers we typically tend to be perfectionists in our approach to create. Otherwise why do it. But creating something truly unique also takes time. Mr. Kawasaki, more or less, adds to what Steve Jobs is saying but provides a more practical approach to the creation and deployment process. He adds something towards saving everybody’s time.
The idea here is not to produce crappy or half-baked products but rather to be purely creative. Focus on the core innovation first. Make it work. Release yourself from the confines of your own perfection and allow your artistic qualities to guide you instead.
This approach also adds another important element to the game.
“It’s not the artist alone that create great products. It’s the process of interaction between the artist and users which typically does”[B.J. Rao]
As developers we tend to be the most bias and prejudices about our own work. Apart from supplying something too late we may also supply something which is, in our minds, perfect but does not fit or no longer fits in to things as we thought it would. Timing is important. While the spark, inspiration and ownership of an idea may reside with a particular person or group of people they are not the ones creating it alone. It’s actually the interaction between the users of the product and its developers which can make a great product. Product development is a 2 way street.
Start the interaction process as early as possible.
The cover photo displays an iPhone 4 in a monstrosity of an add-on. But at this point it’s not about looking pretty. We call this the POC design stage. POC, meaning Proof Of Concept. Actually, it does more than just prove a concept. It makes for a better overall design process.
The approach should be pretty obvious to the technically inclined. You have and idea, a technology, a new design? Start out by putting it together with whatever you have and can find.
“Don’t let perfectionism make you wait on something that isn’t available to test your idea. Instead, be purely creative with what is available and make your idea happen”[B.J. Rao]
Use the resources that you have. Work towards making it just work now. You can always make it work better and tackle a wider spectrum of things further down the development road.
The POC development stage is a crappy one in terms of design. It’s also a playful one that typically yields the greatest insight into your technology’s workings as well as how it can best be used. In the long run it will mean a better end-design. You’ll end up make better decisions on your end design.
After building something like this we can start the hands-on testing. We don’t have to speculate about how certain things will be expected to work. We test them with our POC. Typically my business partner will serve as the “CFH” in the process. The “Customer From Hell”. This is where we build insight on what is needed to work-out the best possible design. More importantly, what is needed to launch the product and start the process of interaction between us and our users.
So what is this iPhone add-on monstrosity?
In a earlier post I introduced a project that we are working which relates to a new add-on for the iPhone. It’s a magnifier which magnifies your camera’s view. By-itself nothing new. But its innovation offers a lot more than what you can find elsewhere. It not only allows you to take high-resolution 2D shots but also 3D surface scans of your magnified views.