Re: Web media

Subject: Re: Web media
From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: Anthony Markatos <tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com>, Techwrl-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2000 13:55:36 -0800 (PST)

Good question, Tony...
> Ask yourself, which of the following is more "real world":
> Company A: A very rigorous analysis was performed on the product's (web
> site's) end-users. And, based upon this analysis, the product's interface
> was designed to be very user friendly. However, the development effort fell
> apart because we simply could not find enough "techies" to implement the
> design.
> Company B: We have enough "techies" - everybody here is a techie. But
> nobody really knows (or cares to know) the end-user. As a result, the web
> site is a failure because it does not meet the user's needs and is too hard
> to understand.

I see WAY more Company A's then Company B's. All of Silicon Valley, Portland,
Phoenix, Dallas, and Seattle are Company A's. Now - maybe on the East cost it
is all geeks, but I find that hard to believe.

The world is full to the brim of analysts and people who worry about people.
Yet, there is a terrible shortage of programmers, engineers, and code cutters.
Don't believe me - pick up the latest copies of Red Herring, Upside, Fast
Company etc. Everybody knows, tech skills are in hot demand. I know this first
hand because I own a placement agency. I see hundreds, even thousands of
resumes for people who want to work in the "soft" technical world. For every
100 analysts, we see 1 or 2 good C++ programmers.

Furthermore, as I have said many times before, the "user" is totally irrelevant
if you lack the skills or capabilities to build something that a user can use.

Imagine if Ford or Chrysler decided the number of cupholders in a new car
before designing, building, or testing it. Absurd, right? Cupholders or no
cupholders, if Ford did not have the technical expertise to make cars - it
wouldn't matter whether those cars had 100 cupholders or 1 because they
couldn't build a useful product.

Sure, there is some guy who asks drivers how many cupholder they want. But this
guy makes $34,000 a year and could be replaced by any number of people. But the
guy who engineered the transmission linkage in your 2000 Taurus makes $110,000
a year and there are only a handful of people in the world who could do his/her

Do you see what I mean now? User analysis is EASY and anybody can do it. This
is why companies put little emphasis on it. There is a user-analysis dude on
every corner. Engineers and nerds are much harder to find and therefore a much
more valuable part of a team. This is pure economics, and not a value judgment
on the need of user analysis.

Andrew Plato
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