Saturday, August 30, 2008

experience is the product

The product is just a small part in the entire experience. Here's a great set of slides about creating the experience:

It's almost impossible to know the user's context. Ergo, build, measure, unbuild. Repeat. Of course, learn from other people's measurements.

Creating Passionate Users is another fantastic resource about creating the experience. It is an entire paradigm shift on how to think while designing a product.

Which brings me to Tufte - on the reading list for next weekend. His focus is specifically at data rather than a product, but it is eventually all the same. Will write about it later.

[Update: I later read this post and realised that the ideas I mention here seem disconnected: end-to-end experience, learning and gathering feedback from data, user-focus, and presenting data. Apologies - I was thinking two steps ahead of what I was writing. They are all connected and in a later post I will tie together the connections.]

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Are the real resource. The real investment. And the real returns.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

courtesy call

I got my car serviced this time at a place closer home for the convenience - Pratham Motors on Sarjapur Road. Two days later it died on me, and was taken to the garage closest to where it had choked up.

Just so happened that the next day (or the day after that) someone from Pratham Motors called me up asking for feedback and how my car was doing. Extremely nice of them, except that they horribly screwed up handling a bad experience! I told them what had happened, not even sure of what to expect from them. All I got was "Sorry, Sir. If you want to complain please come down and meet our manager"!!! That got me really mad. If you don't really care, at least don't try and fake it!

There was absolutely no concern on the part of the customer care person. No questions about what was wrong, if they could do anything to make it better for me, no technician who would get back to me for more details. Basic courtesy I would expect. After all, I am trusting these chaps with my car.

Later I found out that my car was down because of adulterated petrol from a petrol pump. So it wasn't Pratham Motors' fault at all. But I am not going back there again. If in case something were truly wrong, I don't think they would know how to handle it.

Training and manuals can't prepare you for everything. It is important to build a culture that provides the right foundations.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


It has been a long time since I last blogged. It's not that I have been particularly busy (well, I have, but not so much that I didn't have half an hour to write) or that I haven't had much to say. The trick is to say it before the moment passes.

And that is true for so many other things!

I am subscribed to this National Geographic video podcast and the episode I was watching today (download it here) shows how a group of conservationists are trying to protect an endangered species of cranes from becoming extinct. They have a website too - These people breed cranes and teach them how to eat, how to fly, even migrating across the continent for the winter. The migratory path is apparently only in the memories of these birds, and handed down generation to generation. If a generation is lost, so is the collective memory.

What I found most interesting was the method employed by these scientists. They dress up to look almost like the cranes - well, close, and not human anyway - and play recordings of crane-speak to the little ones. No human is allowed to come near the cranes, nor are the dressed up scientists allowed to speak. The idea is to not let the cranes get used to humans since they are meant to be wild. They are taught flying by means of an ultra-light, white-painted aircraft that guides them through their migratory course too. And this aircraft is made to be a part of their environs ever since they are born, with the engine running often - so the cranes are used to it and the sound when the time comes for it to teach them flying.

I found it almost magical. You must see the video to experience it first hand.

What got me really thinking was the power of conditioning. It is absolute.
If we were to ever be subject to similar conditioning as these cranes, how would we realise it? What if we already were?