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Paul Buchheit
Great products are more than just a pile of features
“This is all your app is: a collection of tiny details.” - Wil Shipley, via: http://www.37signals.com/svn... - Adam Kazwell
Not trying to say this contradicts your quote, rather both are meaningful when creating a product - Adam Kazwell
I think a great product is one, that "solves a problem". The additional features and possibilities that it might open up, would not be worth much if it were not for that one issue that it solves properly and made me stick to it. And that is exactly what friendfeed did and still does for me. It gives me an overview and some sort of diary of my online activity and that of friends. It added unexpected value where it provided for material from people I have not met in RL and generated discussions, where I did not expect any. - Mustafa K. Isik
I've don't like "solving problems" as the main goal of engineering and product design. It seems to say that the world is an otherwise perfect place with a bunch of holes in it, and that our job is to go around identifying the holes and carefully plugging them all up, and that some day we will have solved all the problems (and learned to stop creating more) and then we'll be done. Not even! The world is a big glorious constantly changing mixture of lameness and awesomeness, and our job is to make it less lame and more awesome. - ⓞnor
i'm not sure how that's different. can you give an example where thinking in terms of problems would lead you astray? - j1m
Venture capitalists and company executives often evaluate product ideas by asking "what problem does this solve". (At IBM, they used to say things like "painkillers sell better than vitamins".) I think that principle hurts them, because it discounts products that nobody knew they wanted or which don't fit neatly onto a single problem. I actually don't think FriendFeed solves a particularly crisp problem, for example. ("I'm bored", "I miss the ambient company of my friends", "I would like to meet more people", "It's too much work finding interesting media", ...) Problem-solvers might reject the concept, rather than embracing a mechanism that creates value for many people in different ways. They might instead choose something like whatsopen.com, which solves a very definite problem but which has correspondingly limited scope. - ⓞnor
Actually whenever you solve a problem you create a bunch of new problems. For example the creation of email (a low cost means of communicating with lots of people) lead to the spam problem. - Adewale Oshineye
Well, that leads either to despair (why do anything, we'll just create more problems) or to an infinite fractal regress (if the problems created are smaller than the problems solved, we end up solving smaller and smaller problems). There's no bound on the creation of awesomeness, though. E-mail is awesome. Spam is lame. Spam filters reduce lameness. - ⓞnor
I agree with you that the problem ff solves is one that's not yet crisply defined, but I just take it as an example of how well the problem-solving approach works when problems aren't well-defined. Consider how it is in science: very much of the activity is problem solving, but you follow where the evidence leads and the next thing you know you're finding that DNA looks like a double helix. - j1m
@nor spam filters then create the problem that sometimes I lose real mail and I only find out about it if I wade through my Spam folder. - Adewale Oshineye
Well, right, but surely you agree that after a few iterations all the holes are plugged and you end up with a comprehensive solution. - j1m
@ⓞnor: I think you are interpreting a little too much in what my statement about problem solving says. I don't think it lends itself to extrapolation of the "the world is ..." kind. A product might solve a "problem" of which you are not aware of when first giving it a try. If you don't like the "problem" term, I could rephrase it to "meets a need". @Adewale: I agree. New products, services, even altered usage patterns, generate new probelms/needs, waiting to be adressed. Given our curious and inventive human nature, I don't fear the day coming close that we run out of such. - Mustafa K. Isik