On features and bugs

I told you I enjoyed reading Dreaming in Code, Scott Rosenberg’s recent book; I told you I was going to start reading his blog, Wordyard.

I kept my word. And I’m still enjoying it. To give you a for-instance, here’s a quote from a piece Scott wrote on MySpace and success:

Here we have the state of Web development today: Your site’s massive success gets treated as a bug by your server; and the feature your users love best is something your programmers forgot to block.

Maybe we’re really going to see something different after all, as the software industry discovers co-creation and something analogous to user-generated-something-as-long-as-it’s-not-content.

Scott’s comment makes me think. Think about three things.

  1. today’s safety valves are tomorrow’s bottlenecks as we move closer to the customer. Safety is in the eye of the beholder, the customer.
  2. one man’s feature is another man’s bug. As traditional marketing and sales move out of the way, and customers are left to discover value for themselves, we are going to see a number of such unintended consequences.
  3. these two things are going to accelerate as the customer acquires the tools of production and co-creation.

I’m going to enjoy watching what happens to today’s abominations in IPR and DRM as this gathers momentum.

3 thoughts on “On features and bugs”

  1. Coincidentally, I mused yesterday on my blog about the “unintended” effects of marketing with specific reference to the Boston security alerts caused by urban spam for a TV show.

    In similar vein, you will be aware of the software packages targetted at “small businesses” that were rejected by them but fund great success and take-up by small dpeartments within big businesses because they were more manageable than the company-wide systems.

    The bottom line is I think increasingly to make something effective at meeting a specific type of need and then letting the audience decide or co-create the actual manifestation of that need.

  2. Interesting line of thought.

    Make the product fit for someone. Anyone. But make it fit. Work with the customer. Keep it open, and you will find that other “untargeted” customers will follow. There goes the concept of channels….

  3. flickr is another great example of this, and twitter is too in that a company’s side project became it’s main focus – although twitter is even more interesting in that it’s succeeded in spite of being incredibly buggy and unreliable.

Let me know what you think

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.