Recently, I watched a video on YouTube. It was an old video of Steve Jobs answering someone at WWDC 1997 (I was not even born yet). Have a look.

For some context, Steve Jobs just returned to Apple after being famously kicked out. Apple, in 1997, was not doing so great and Jobs made many changes to the company on his return. Not many people liked the changes that he was making. Like the man in the video, many felt he does not know what he was doing.

What that man said was not very important. He was asking why Apple scraped a project (OpenDoc) the he obviously felt was important. However, the response given by Jobs was what made Apple the largest company in the world. It encompasses the vision he had for the company and it can be seen in the product.

What made the response amazing was not just about how he said it, but what he said in his response. Mind you this was a QnA, so it is (hopefully) not scripted. There are 3 quotes that I felt were rather amazing.

“You can please some of the people… some of the time”

You cannot make everyone happy all the time. That is a fact in life. At some point, you will realise that if you try to make everyone happy, you will be the unhappy one. But that does not mean you be mean to everyone hahaha

“You got to start with the customer experience and work back to the technology. You can’t start with the technology and then try to figure out where to sell it.”

As tech people, new technologies come along everyday. We learn about it, get excited and want to show it to the world. So we end up thinking “now that I know this, what can I do to show it to the world?” However, we rarely think “Oh. Will people actually notice this?”

One very common example is website building. Computer science students always have this dream of building their website from scratch to show off their experience and projects. They learn about the different frameworks, get excited, and begin. However, what many do not see is that, unless the website you build is exceptionally outstanding, it would just look like you built your website using a website builder (like wix or squarespace). A visitor of your site will not see the hard work you put in to learn how to deploy it on a server, set up a reverse proxy with Nginx, get an SSL certificate, or even your beautifully structured code base.

So start with the user experience and find the technology you need to meet that need. For the example above, if the intended user experience was to show of your projects and past experiences, website builders will be perfect for the job. You do not need to worry about server cost or making sure you website is up and running. You just need to focus on the content.

“Some mistakes will be made along the ways… and thats good! Cause at least some decisions are being made on the way. We will find the mistakes and we will fix them!”

Fun Fact: Even though he said this, he is known to get very very angry when things do not work. hahaha

Don’t want to sound too philosophical, but making mistakes does not mean you failed. It just means you made a wrong decision along the way. The important thing is how you fix that wrong decision and move on. As you go along, this experience will help you make better decisions in the future reducing mistakes.

In to conclude, if I ever build a product I will definitely keep this in mind.

If you read till here, thanks for reading hahaha. I just though this video was still relevant today even though it was shot so long ago. Anyway, works starting. So see you next week.

Happy Coding!