Warren Colbert Technologist

Tagged: apple.

Product design & technology are not separate competencies

Technology is the application of knowledge & tools to solve a problem.  Product design is the practice of understanding a problem and producing the most efficient & effective product for the problem at hand.  Complex problems require relatively complex solutions. The two disciplines, technology and product design, go hand in hand.  In Henry Blodget’s latest article, And Here’s The Secret Reason Apple Is Crushing Google…, Henry states:

Google has an engineering culture, in which brilliant technologists are the rock stars.

larry page

Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images

The brilliant student.

Apple, meanwhile, has a product-design and marketing culture, in which “technology” merely serves to support a product’s function and form.

There are two things I’d like to call out here.  First, engineering is the “how” in technology and product design is the what.  If Henry’s point is that Google lacks the product design element, then what he is actually saying is that Google is ran by brilliant engineers, not technologists.

Second, “technology” is not used to support a product’s function and form.  A product’s function and form are inherently critical to the efficacy of the technology.  Despite the negative wrap that marketing gets, the effective use of marketing is about getting technology into the hands of the right people and to educate them on how the technology should be used.  Apple obviously gets this as all of it’s marketing has the technology and it’s use cases front and center.

Succeeding at engineering is not succeeding at technology.  Technology is a super set that includes engineering and product design.  At a training I attended a few months back, Marty Cagan, author of Inspired: How to Create Products Customers Love  unapologetically said that the product design element is the harder part of technology. If that is indeed true, it’s not hard to see why Apple is the most valuable technology company on earth.

11:15 am, by cognited 1



Apple’s market cap vs Microsoft + Intel (combined).



This is a great way to visualize it. In 2000, the combined market cap of Intel and Microsoft was over $1 trillion. By the end of 2000, Apple’s was under $5 billion.

Today? Well, there’s the chart.


  12:50 am, reblogged  by cognited 111

The Glue Between Actions to Form a Desired User Experience

A few weeks back Jared Spool discussed the difference between a experience based business and an activity based business. He used Disney as the poster child for the experience based company, and Six Flags for the latter. He mentions in his talk that experience based companies like Disney focus not only on activities but on the spaces in between activities to create a continuous experience for users. He discusses how the Disney room keeping staff will meticulously arrange dolls so they look like they were playing while guests were away and fell over lifeless when guests returned. To the naked eye this seems to be such a minute detail and one that cannot have an effect on Disney’s theme park successes. However, in aggregate these practices come together to offer an experience families long for across the world. I believe U/X Guru Jason Putorti chimed in on a similar point at the same conference calling for designers to focus on user flows instead of isolated features to ensure a cohesive experience.

Yesterday Apple released a new update to their Apple Store iPhone app. It allows iPhone users with an appointment at the genius bar to check in on their phones as they arrive to the store. An update is pushed to them when their genius is ready to help them. This resembles that same glue used by Disney to hold together a user experience that cannot be quantiified or measured by a product data sheet. Paying attention to small details like waiting for an service appointment is not a new practice for Apple. Anyone that has ever opened an Apple product has seen the high quality packaging used by Apple to invoke a strong emotion when undressing Steve Jobs’ latest magical product.

Creating a user experience like this will leave users somewhat clueless as to exactly what it is that gets them coming back time and time again to use the products they love. But it won’t matter, because the positive experience is more than enough to not only keep them coming back but to attract other users as well.

11:46 pm, by cognited

Fanboys unite, Apple vs. Google? Competition is good, get over it.

A response to Google Is Leapfrogging Apple - Gizmodo

Competition is a great thing.  Is Apple falling asleep at the wheel?  Or is there a bigger picture we just aren’t seeing?

Anyway you look at it, Google is not taking the consumer internet lightly.  Despite Google’s wild profits year after year, one question remained “Is Google a one trick pony?”  Would Google be able to take those profits that have been subsidizing failed businesses for years and find a new space with room to grow?  The answer is looking like a resounding “YES!”

Google is going after Apple’s cash cow, consumer technology.  How did this happen with Jobs at the wheel?  Any tech pundit has seen the potential of the Apple TV.  Why has Apple squandered away this head start?  Was the opportunity misjudged? Not likely.  My guess is that Apple was just being Apple.  Apple does not like to test the waters in new markets.  They like their competitors jumping in the space and doing their research for them, but will this entrench Google in a position that will be tough to “leap frog” as Apple has done to countless adversaries in the past.

Has Google just awakened a sleeping giant with tons of experience developing amazing user experience experiences, a huge pot of cash, and a fully capable and widely adopted OS?  Regardless of the answer, consumers win because competition is good.  Hear that fanboys?

03:58 am, by cognited