iCloud Backup”

This post from Marco Arment, about a less-than-stellar expe­ri­ence his grand­par­ents had at an Apple Store, is such an impor­tant les­son to learn:

 It wouldn’t be the first time a tech­nol­ogy expert lacked empa­thy for a cus­tomer, or made bad assump­tions about what would be fast and easy for the cus­tomer to do on his own — espe­cially when decid­ing to per­form an easy, pre­dictable, cure-all “restore”.

Reminds me of some­thing I wrote ear­lier this year about ask­ing ques­tions and avoid­ing assump­tions. Spend­ing the time to do some­thing right mat­ters much more than doing it quickly.

My Sunday night reading list

Spent the evening with my Kin­dle, a few cups of tea, and my most recent items from Instapa­per. The high­lights of my read­ing list for the night:

And it works…

So why did you make this?

Because I’m a pro­gram­mer, and this is what I do.

Some peo­ple jog away from their house every day, only to jog back. Oth­ers walk on a tread­mill, expend­ing energy to get nowhere. In both cases, it may appear to oth­ers that they’ve accom­plished noth­ing, but they’ve cho­sen to do these seem­ingly redun­dant activ­i­ties on a reg­u­lar basis to incre­men­tally improve them­selves. And it works.

Marco Arment — sec­ond­crack on GitHub.

What are your product’s goals?

Marco Arment writ­ing about Amazon’s goals with the Kin­dle:

I agree: it does seem like those were Amazon’s goals. They now have an inex­pen­sive tablet that makes it extremely easy for its users to buy more from Amazon.

Note the appar­ent absence of goals such as “Make a great read­ing expe­ri­ence” or “Make a great portable video player”. It serves Amazon’s busi­ness goals (assum­ing it sells), but it doesn’t serve its cus­tomers’ goals well.

Double-dipping

Maybe these dif­fer­ent stan­dards are because the con­texts are so dif­fer­ent: mag­a­zines, news­pa­pers, and TV all feel cheap, since they’ve shat on con­sumers to make a few more cents for decades, but the iPad or a well-designed web­site are clean, high qual­ity, and customer-centric.

Or maybe it’s just me. I just don’t feel com­fort­able pay­ing for an iPad or web pub­li­ca­tion, no mat­ter how good it is, and then hav­ing ads shoved down my throat. It makes me feel ripped off: what did I pay for?

Marco Arment — Double-dipping.

The Masked Social Network

Effec­tively Instapa­per has found a way to keep its users engaged with the site’s main pur­pose, read­ing, while offer­ing users ways of keep­ing tabs other read­ers. It’s like get­ting a peek at some­one else’s book­case, with­out them know­ing that you peeked.

Imag­ine what would hap­pen if Twit­ter oper­ated this way: you have no inkling of who is fol­low­ing you and oth­ers have no clue if you are fol­low­ing them. You just have an account that you post to, occa­sion­ally a per­son responds to you. The only way you know if a per­son is fol­low­ing you is when you go to Direct Mes­sage them.

Imag­ine that, because what would really change?

Ben Brooks — The Masked Social Net­work.