Why can’t people make really good stuff? Of course, sometimes, they simply don’t know how to do their job at a high level. Some try it this way, others try it that way, but normally the result is nothing to shout about. Things happen.
Sometimes the only way to get a good result is to pay a high price. And if you try to save a little, the result isn’t going to be that good. With wrong materials and inappropriate technologies you deal with what you have at hand. It’s a compromise…
But there are a lot of things, which everyone knows what they must be like and which can be produced for a reasonable price. Even cheaper than Apple, nearly the only one of them striving to do its job perfectly. But in the end it’s not perfect!
Let’s take, say, a car. It doesn’t take a software programmer to know what a good car is: beautiful, or at least not ugly, fast and spacious. With big clearance and reasonable fuel hunger. And that’s pretty much it. It’s clear for everyone how to make such a car, there are pieces of it glimpsing in our roads: there are beautiful cars, fast cars, spacious cars, but these are all different cars. No car combines all these best qualities, however strange it might seem.
Or, an automotive computer, a.k.a. head unit, a.k.a. “car stereo system, modern and fully loaded with the the latest in infotainment applications”. It’s common place what people want it to be like: navigation, music, movies, Internet access. Like a normal computer. Nowadays computers are dirt cheap, just take it and put it in. Well, the interface might need some tuning, and you’ve got to make sure that the “Start” button is handy to reach. Easy task, isn’t it? Still, none has done it. And those who’ve tried – they failed. It’s not working for them. Everything seems to be on its place, but it’s still wrong. Why?
You want to know why? The answer is MARKETING. All these “reference groups”, “market niches”, “demand assessment” and the everlasting looking backwards to this bloody crowd. Whenever they get cautious and start comparing with competitors, conduct polls and studies, they can’t help bringing to life another mediocre and plain something, similar to what we’ve seen a hundred times. A perfect product can only be made by someone with a strong will. Someone solid, strong and ready to step up to the plate, someone like Gates or Jobs who can declare to the most brilliant software developer (or market analyst for that matter) on the planet: “It’s gonna be like this!” Why? Because it’s right. Says who? Says me. Such people can create things, big and bright, which fills the public with admiration.
Something that we’ll be taken to pieces by followers, full-time managers, computer software engineers, and countless market analysts totally freaked out by the possibility of losing their salary and bonuses. Sometimes, jobs’ and gates’ do it really well, so that the followers can feast on it for a long time. But for some reason they never make a really right thing. And this is sad.