Classic article from Jeff Atwood in 2008 at Coding Horror:
I’ve often thought that software developers were akin to Magpies, birds notorious for stealing shiny items to decorate their complex nests. Like Magpies, software developers are unusually smart and curious creatures, almost by definition. But we are too easily distracted by shiny new toys and playthings.
Jeff added: I became a programmer because I love computers, and to love computers, you must love change. And I do. But I think the magpie developer sometimes loves change to the detriment of his own craft.
Jeff is the programmer who created Stack Overflow and Discourse.
“Conversational computing” is a growing high-tech field that is solving interaction inefficiencies (finger-typing on tiny screens) but are also opening up new dimensions of relating to our devices that can reinforce social/cultural stereotypes.
Do you like your Digital Assistant from Google, Apple or Amazon to be female? Male? Educated-sounding? What does that mean, even? In the English-speaking world, for example, are British accents (think Jarvis) more educated than Southwestern American?
The teams behind Google Home, Apple’s Siri, Samsung’s Viv, Amazon’s Echo with Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana—all need to balance their users’ gender, cultural and emotional biases. Whew.
Good reading here at NYTimes, article by Quentin Hardy.
Google Assistant “is a millennial librarian who understands cultural cues, and can wink at things,” said Ryan Germick, who leads the personality efforts in building Google Assistant. “Products aren’t about rational design decisions. They are about psychology and how people feel.”
Good read: 8 tips from Dave Cancel
If an investor tells you that you can’t build a real business on $20/month, direct them to Constant Contact.
Their average selling price is $37/month, they have 375k customers, they are on target to do $170 million+ in revenue this year, and they are a publicly traded company (AKA liquidity event).
SAAS (Software as a Service) startups need to focus on getting on past what Gail calls the slow ramp of death. When selling low-priced subscriptions you make your money in subsequent years — not up front.
The slow ramp of death is even harder to get past at an average selling price of $37/month; 1000 customers at that price brings in enough revenue to pay a small handful of employees.