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The root of software industries problems:

Unlike film or automobiles, where there is a significant cost of goods, software (while hard to write) was relatively fast to create. With less upfront expenses, the rush to market was coupled with relatively less risk, thereby further fueling the rush to start coding with out thinking twice. Also, the reality of Moore’s Law meant that there was no time for things to settle down to the point where such “niceties” as design, quality, and usability standards might become established. My perspective is that the bulk of our industry is organized around the demonstrable myth that we know what we want at the start, and how to get it, and therefore build our process assuming that we will take an optimal, direct path to get there. 

More info on Skype:

Niklas Zennstrom co-author of Kazaa talks about Skype. “You should not try to do things that are artificially viral like an “Invite a friend to use this service” feature. Those don’t really work. We’ve had that feature on Skype but it doesn’t really bring in the users. The product has to be fundamentally viral in itself.”

Quips from NYTimes magazine on Design:

Inspiration: Where Does It Come From?: “The most impressive designs are those that seem naturally right, unimprovable, inevitable.”

The Guts of a New Machine: “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works. The starting point for IPod wasn’t a chip or a design; the starting point was the question, What’s the user experience? If you start to work on something, and the time is right, pieces come in from the periphery. The pieces just come together. The design process is not serial. It’s not one person passing something on to the next. It’s almost easier to talk about it as what it’s not.”