While discussing a product at work today, Caterina said something that really stuck with me. For whatever reason, I like her analogies. They work for me.
We were discussing a recent example of a product group that was trying to do what amounts to merging two things that really ought to be distinct. The end result, as you might imagine, is a product that does neither thing well.
She called that "building a carboat." And that immediately conjured up the image of a mis-conceived vehicle that "drives like a boat and floats like a car." While that's amusing to think about, it's easy to do when you're trying to please too many masters, designing by committee, or both.
I'm a big fan of consumer products that have one very clear and easy to articulate purpose. If you ever find yourself in the midst of building something that seems to be lacking that clarity, make sure to stop and ask yourself if you're building a carboat.
Posted by jzawodn at January 05, 2006 08:53 PM
What do you mean, carboats work great!
Sure, show a photo of the dorky car-boat.
The Samsung Smart Thru printer/scanner/FAX sitting next to me comes to mind. Ugh! One would hope better machines are made to accomplish these functions now.
Why can't people get it through their tiny skulls that hybrids invariably lead to the worst of both worlds?
I remember seeing one of these in a museum in Pennsylvania
That is, unless Q is the guy that hacked your Lotus. In that case, you'll get a damn fine carboat.
Are you suggesting I should stop design on the portable CoffeeMakingCopyMachinePortaPotty...
... dot com edition?
You have very interesting blog!
I enjoy reading you blog... keep it up guys!
Respect you. Happy New Year!
I don't know if this will be admitted because I don't know if Jeremy is your first name. Mine is Ramon Amteus Leonato... In any case.
Anyhow... I worked for a company that tried to do this and they screwed the company completely and the life of all the employees. Good advice. I hope they had read this then.
Ramon Amteus Leonato