Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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On Complaining

I really like this thought from Andre Torrez: “Complain about the way other people make software by making software.” The point Andre is making, which he further articulates later on, is that anyone whose job, at least in part, is based on building web products should realize that the realities that surround something never make any project quite as cut and dry as one might think. I personally try to do as little hating around here as possible (I don’t consider my comments on The Daily to be hate as much as media critique).

Generally, though, this brings two things to mind that I’ve had a few conversations about recently (both of which will get a fuller entry at some point soon):

  1. The relationship between expectations and product experience: I spoke about this at a product development day recently (and still need to post my slides), but the basic idea is that people underestimate the relationship between these two things. When everyone starts talking about something like Color or The Daily, it’s at least in part because of the hype created around it (the former because of funding and the latter because of funding/super bowl commercial). The danger this creates is one of high expectations, meaning that product experience needs to be more that just good, it needs to be mind-blowing (think about the first time you opened Color, rather than giving it time you expected an immediate life-changing experience that reflected the $41 million number you heard).
  2. My second point is actually about something Andre says a bit later in his entry: “If you’re a well known web or app developer who complains a lot on Twitter about other people’s projects, I am very likely talking about you. You and I both know that there are many reasons why something works a certain way or why something in the backend would affect the way something works on the front-end.” I feel like I’ve had a ton of conversations recently in this realm. The question of why Big Company X didn’t create Small Company Y (Flickr/Instagram being a good example) is a silly one. The question is more ridiculous when Big Company X makes a ton of money off the product. The reason small companies/products can move faster is because they have less cruft and nothing to lose. Although they may not aim to mirror the corporate structure, they are exactly trying to become Big Company X, at which point they will no longer be able to move at the same speed or make decisions in exactly the same way. It’s the reality of business.

April 12, 2011