Beauty, Elegance & Comfort In Technology

18 12 2007

I finally broke down and went to the Mac camp with a MacBook Pro, and with a damn good deal for a brilliant notebook courtesy of the unfortunate CompUSA store closures.

I’ve always know that Apple has had the best product designs.

I’m also a bit of a productivity freak. Not in the GTD, obsessive compulsive list building way. Rather, I mostly try not to waste large chucks of time though I willingly waste small amounts of time. I was there for Google, eBay, online shopping, PPC advertising. I’m usually at least somewhere ahead of the curve, but sometimes productivity issues hold me back. I don’t have enough of a desire to have the newest, hottest thing if you’ve got to deal with the frustration of using the thing. Therefore, I’m not sure I fit the perfect mold of an early adopter. The productivity issues with the iPhone is the troubling hold-back. I would love one, but really can’t get over the touch keyboard, and Edge network to a lesser extent.

I always wondered why I never felt particularly compelled to jump to Mac. Perhaps it was minor annoyance with Apple fanboys. The practical reason could always be that the corporate environment made it difficult. Plus, my Seattle background made me sort of locked-in to Microsoft – the stuff was always free! Now I’m an official Valley type. And I own a Mac. And it’s wonderful.

I never understood people’s obsession with their Macs. Unfortunately, no one really codified for me. I guess I never dived deep enough, but surface answers were always something like “they just work better.”

That was never a good enough answer. I still don’t know if life is any easier as a Mac user, but it certainly is more pleasant, more comfortable. I’m having seriously annoying issues with WordPress WYSIWYG in Safari as we speak. If you’ve got to do somethings that’s a pain, might as well be comfortable doing it. If Windows is coach, then Mac is definitely First Class.

We all know Apple makes the best designed, simplest, and most beautiful products. However, what Steve Jobs understands and a lot of people don’t is that design is not a matter of focusing on the details, it’s a matter of focusing on the right details. Things like rounded corners (as cliche as they are), anti-aliased fonts, focus on materials (metallics, whites, glass), slim profiles, backlighting, easy sounds, and soft keyboards actually mean something.

I probably could’ve and should’ve jumped ship earlier. Once Apple introduced Intel processors and BootCamp, that was the turning point. From an investment standpoint, that was the point where you should’ve bought Apple stock (no, I had not checked the stock history to fully verify this timing). That was the close enough point from the productivity standpoint – and when the elegance of the machines could really dominate. Apple computers (aside from the monster that is iPod, iPhone,…) will continue to do very well as time marches forward.

Apple’s secret sauce is how the beauty & elegance translates to a comfortable and pleasant feeling when using their products. And that’s the lesson that I’ll take whenever I want to create a product that I want people to use. I wish someone explained it to me earlier.

Happy holidays!


The Role of Faith in Startups

7 12 2007

There’s a lot of mechanics behind success, and no one person is beyond failure.

Have the will to take the leap, faith, and the ability to change course rapidly. Traditional entrepreneur definitions tend to focus on the first item, but a willingness to quit your job or do some work on the side does not make you an entrepreneur. I do believe that you can learn the mechanics of the third: you can learn how to adjust to various situations, through experience or education. Some is innate ability, but it can be learned.

But faith is difficult because it’s the only piece that seems to put some things completely out of your control. Faith is difficult because sometimes it takes the form of blind faith, something that logic contradicts and routinely kills businesses. But the type of faith you can give in to is the necessity to know everything immediately, and have faith that you’ll figure it out along the way.

Happy Friday!

Kicking Ass and Taking Names!

5 12 2007

Stupid aside:

I was wondering about the origin of Kicking Ass and Taking Names. Urban Dictionary is, of course, the expert of these idiom and jargon definitions.

So the definition does supposedly come from kicking ass, then taking names for the next ass-whooping.

However, the phrase is used to mean multiple successes in succession which is how I meant to use it. After reading the definition, I realized I did not even think about its literal meaning initially.

Does anyone kick ass and take names anymore in its most literal sense?

Kicking ass and taking names is the name of business.   But I can’t imagine any big business anymore that literally brutally kicks ass and takes names in our day and age.

Bubble, No Bubble, Bubble, No Bubble

5 12 2007

In Valley culture, making the rounds today is a hilarious send up Music Video that “Here Comes Another Bubble”:

If you think this, Valleywag, and Fake Steve Jobs are the height of comedy, you just might be part of that bubble. When asked why I’ve moved to San Francisco, I’ve commented that I was bubble chasing. Peter Thiel makes his argument, admittedly biased, that technology is the one place where in fact there is no bubble.

So even though Entrepreneur 2.0 might be slightly more self-aware, are we any smarter? Probably not. I don’t have Bubble 1.0 as a personal reference, but the kool-aid is nice and strong this time around.

But we do know what we’re getting ourselves into, what we’re up against. When VCs and dreaming entrepreneurs are the only ones that can get hurt, it looks a lot less like a bubble. And for me (and most of us), that seems good enough to continue to plow through, bubble or no bubble.