Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Multiplier Tools


It's clear by now that computers did not shrink our workweek. Instead they allowed us to produce more in the same number of hours. 2D CAD's allowed architects to draw faster and cleaner. As technology kept advancing, speed became the standard and quality became the new target. 3D CAD let architects design in ways that were not possible before, avoiding issues and creating new complex shapes.

The interesting thing is to see how these advances have pushed the bar in so many areas. A very basic example that I ran across recently was with pumpkin carving. I picked up a $5 book that came with a handful of tools. The book had a number of templates and some very basic instructions. The tools were much better than the safety knifes from a few years back allowing you to make much more intricate cuts. With the help of the improved tools and templates my daughter (age 7) carved out a better pumpkin than I ever made, even in my high school years. I was able to keep up with my 4 year old daughter's work however.

While the templates and specialty pumpkin carving tools would be considered an unfair advantage in my day, today it's the norm. Triangle eyes are not acceptable even for a 2nd grader today. Meaning, a triangular hole punch to carve your pumpkin in 10 seconds is an improvement, but people want multipliers. They want the tools (template, instructions and specialty tools) that will let them carve a world-class pumpkin.

What this mean to me is that the products we create should never merely deliver the expected, they need to deliver world-class quality just to keep up. Regardless of the skill level we predefine for our users, the products need to help them become superstars.

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