A newsgroup post in borland.public.delphi.non-technical pointed to an interesting computerworld article: The 8 secrets that make Apple No. 1. I’ve long thought that Apple offers something to learn for every technology business out there, from the biggest corporate monster to a part-time one-man operation.
My favorite “secret” was number 4: The product is the product
“The bigger companies get, the less energy they seem to spend on creating great products. Instead, whenever the CEOs of most computer and consumer electronics companies speak in public, they blather on about alliances, services, improvements in the sales channel and other things buyers don’t care about. Apple CEO Steve Jobs talks about the actual products above all.
“One of the weird things about buying a cell phone is carriers are clearly more interested in selling you plans, options and reliability. The physical handsets seem to be an afterthought. But consumers are crying out for better handsets, and the carriers don’t seem to notice. Apple does notice.”
This perfectly described my cell phone carrier. The service has been great. The coverage is good, the plans are good. But the handset selection is abysmal. Is it that hard for a cellular provider to offer me the handset I want (which their competitors are offering) on their network that they’re convinced is the most reliable in the world?
It’s interesting to contemplate what this means for TwoDesk – are we focusing on creating great products? Are we focusing on creating a great experience for those who use our products? I think we’re doing alright, especially with the new subscription business model that forces us to emphasize continual improvement. I don’t think we’ve perfected it though, and we could do better.
Secret number 3 was The experience is the product
When Castalia 5 came out a year ago, this was the major emphasis… what did it feel like to use Castalia? One thing that didn’t feel good was the flickering in the editor. So I spent months – literally – figuring out what was going on deep under the hood in Delphi, and then completely rewrote the entire Castalia graphics engine. It was the biggest rewrite since Castalia 2. The result was amazing, and Castalia 5 has been our best seller ever. I think that’s partially because of the great new features we added, but I think it’s mostly because those barriers of “it just feels bad” were finally removed.
That said, I still think there’s room for improvement, and I’m excited about what we’ve got in the pipe for the future to make the experience – and the product -better.