This quite fantastic post by Peter Merholz describes how the founder of Kodak revolutionized photography by simplifying the process, and in turn, looking at the Kodak camera as a service rather than a product.

This is fundamentally an experiential approach, one that is seemingly being ignored by plethora of “leading” brands and companies. So it is apt to share this excerpt from Merholz’s awesome article:


“Why is it that what Eastman figured out over 100 years ago seems forgotten today? Why do so few products seem concerned with how they fit into the lives of their customers? (Been to a consumer electronics event recently?) Why is it that people still approach products as isolated entities, unconnected with the world around them?

A comment that sheds light on this comes from Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple:

When you start looking at a problem and it seems really simple, you don’t really understand the complexity of the problem. Then you get into the problem, and you see that it’s really complicated, and you come up with all these convoluted solutions. That’s sort of the middle, and that’s where most people stop….

But the really great person will keep on going and find the key, the underlying principle of the problem—and come up with an elegant, really beautiful solution that works.

That’s what we wanted to do with Mac.
—from Insanely Great, written by Steven Levy

Until the last sentence, you might have thought he was taking about the iPod or even the iPhone. But the quote came from 1984, and demonstrates that transcendent product design is a matter of philosophy and approach. The reason product development has gone wrong is that people stop at the worst time—when the solutions are most convoluted.

What Eastman knew, what Jobs knows, is that you have to go beyond; you have to think about the experience people are having.”

The post goes on to talk about an increasingly complex but integral aspect of modern marketing and branding: experience design.

Great read. Click here now.

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