Building Things for “Ordinary” People



"You know how you survive? You make people need you. You survive because you make them need what you have. And then they have nowhere else to go."

[Bill Gates]

Over the weekend, I watched Pirates of Silicon Valley, on the history of Apple and Microsoft (1999). At around minute 40 in the movie, Wyle/Jobs says, "for the first time in my life, people are coming to me, instead of me going to them."

That's a great feeling every entrepreneur and business owner who has felt it treasures — knowing you have something people want.

How you survive, is by making things people need. In the movie, Gates says that a little after minute 46.

I watched as both, fictional Jobs and Gates, where identifying the need before even building the product. In fact, selling a product they technically didn't even have in their hands. The one thing they saw was what people wanted to do.

Building things for "ordinary" people

Working on offering something to the non technical or specialized professional is the challenge every nascent industry faces.

In the movie, that was the case with technology — putting a computer on everyone's desk, in fact making it "personal".

The new creation didn't stop at the box itself and the programs needed for people to use the operating system. That was just the beginning.

After the first two components were in people's hands, the door was open for a whole ecosystem of other programs and tools to solve problems.

Desktops evolved into portable devices where trackpads replaced the mouse. Then touchscreens replaced the keyboard on smartphones and tablets. Evolving with use and anticipating new uses.

Building things for everyone was about taking away, simplifying the interaction to a very intuitive function — touch (without sacrificing more sophisticated functions like video and sound). Why we are very attached to our new devices.

Are you building things for "ordinary" people?


I'll leave you with one thing Wozniak says at the end of the movie, "it's weird, sometimes, you find things that are more important to you than the things you think are important."

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