Microsoft iPod Pro 2005 XP Human Ear Professional Edition

I hadn’t seen this video until now.  It’s a 2006 spoof/thought experiment about what would happen if Microsoft designed the 2005 iPhone packaging (Step 1: rename it to “Microsoft iPod Pro 2005 XP Human Ear Professional Edition (with Subscription).  The final reveal comes at 2:30 in the video, but it’s the build that really packs a punch.

We hear all the time that we can’t delight anyone if our products are created by a committee.  Indeed, we nod knowingly at how everyone else falls into that trap.

But do we have one person whose sole job is to cut away absolutely everything (everything!) that’s unnecessary to achieving the vision, to delighting the customer?

N.B. there are two non-negotiable prerequisites in the prior sentence:

  1. Knowing who the customer is
  2. Having a vision of what you want her experience to be

Of course in the long term you don’t need just one virtuoso or visionary, but you do need a first time when you put out a product that makes a lot of important people within (or outside) your organization upset, because you’ll have put something out into the world that isn’t for everyone.

(And yes, sometimes we – you, me – end up being the committee.  Oops.)

Microsoft iPod Package

Two traps

Each day, each post, I walk a narrow path.

I avoid thinking too much about all the people out there who are going to read each post I write – people I like and respect and whose time I know is precious.  Because if I get too hung up on that, I can easily decide that a post isn’t worthy of landing in thousands of inboxes.

Or I could worry that the number of people reading this blog isn’t big enough, and try to write posts that will get more people to sign up.

Instead, I try to show up and do my best, most honest work.  I listen to my own standard of the work I’m striving to produce, and limit internal debates to conversations between me and my computer screen and ask: is this the best version of what I’m trying to say?

And each time I hit “publish” the inner critic, the doubts, the second-guesses lose a little bit more steam.