It’s SXSW this weekend, and while I’m again not attending this year, it’s a reminder that today is the 12th anniversary of starting this blog. I took some time today to fix the categories and tags on about a dozen older posts. One of those was fun to rediscover, linking to John Siracusa’s review of Mac OS X 10.2. Here’s the part from John that I quoted:
“And forget about any truly forward-looking features akin to Copland’s saved searches or BeOS’s metadata-powered custom views. Put simply, the Finder, once the crown jewel of the Mac user interface, no longer seems to be a priority at Apple.”
That was September 2002. It feels like it has really taken until 10.9 Mavericks (with tags and Finder tabs) for that to change.
This line in a blog post on Cartoon Brew made me laugh:
“It’s certainly possible to write a Looney Tunes script, just as it’s possible to eat a hamburger with your feet, but there are smarter, easier, and better ways to do it.”
Every industry that gets big probably has some of this. There’s the old school, the folks who know the right way to do things — for example, you start an animated film with sketches and storyboards, not words — and then there’s everyone who comes in afterwards, without the history and culture of what made it all work. Look at what the App Store has become, compared to how software development worked in the 1990s or early 2000s. If it wasn’t for all the money some of these new developers are making they’d be completely embarrassing themselves with technical naivety and depressing lack of vision.
On the other hand, great ideas often start with newcomers. But please respect the past before you break from it.
Stewart Butterfield, co-founder of Flickr and his latest company Tiny Speck, published an internal email from around the middle of development on their collaboration app Slack:
“There’s no point doing this to be small. We should go big, if only because there are a lot of people in the world who deserve Slack. Going big also means that it will have to be really, really good. But that’s convenient, since there’s also no point doing it if it is not really, really good.”
It’s long but there’s a lot of good stuff in it on marketing and building a product people need.