All of us have encountered an insane application of technology at some point in our lives causing us to have the “what were they thinking” moment. The amazing thing is that they were thinking, and their thoughts were that this application of technology was perfectly normal. In fact, they usually were thinking it was the best thing ever.
Here are a couple recent example’s I’ve come across:
- 18 Button Mouse
Seriously. Apple thinks more than one button is too many, but the designers of OpenOffice believe that 18 buttons is really the right number.
- Palm 650 Hard Reset
Seriously, follow the link and imagine someone (and their friend) reseting this phone with a stylus in their mouth. There is “making something difficult”, and then there is turning it into a sport.
These are obviously extreme, but exemplify that once you start down a line of thinking, without someone to questioning you, your further assumptions all make complete sense, but lead to complete nonsense. This is a problem with buying too much into your own vision, you quickly loose focus on the real purpose — creating something that helps your customer achieve THEIR goals.
The only way to know their goals is to talk to them, not to decide for them. As Steven Blank says, “Inside the building, there are only opinions. All the facts lie outside of the company”. This sentiment is something that we should all apply, not only to our product development, but also to the teams that we lead.
[P.S. If you come across other examples of odd technology applications, please send me the link]