Steve Jobs and Promoting Insanely Great Software Quality

“You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.” (Steve Jobs, 1989)

“You‘ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology – not the other way around.” (Steve Jobs, 1997)

“[If you’re lucky, when you grow up you’ll discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.” (Steve Jobs, 1994)

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Few people in recent history have made the impression Steve Jobs did. He was a thunderous, hypersonic force in a world of (relatively speaking) slow-motion quiet, leaving behind a vibrant legacy of astonishing dimensions and changing not only the way people communicate, but the very way people think about communicating in the world of information interchange.

The first two quotes highlight the difficulty of transforming a process/idea into mass-marketable software. Further, they show that for the past twenty years or so, the process of building software has not changed appreciably. One can search the Internet, scanning for the one definitive article that outlines the perfect strategy and methodology for software development, marketing and deployment. With the millions of people working diligently the past twenty-plus years in the tech world to codify any and all matters, it seems that would be doable. OK. Go ahead and look. I’ll wait. And, if the past is any indicator of future performance, twenty years from now I’ll still be waiting and you’ll be howling, foaming-at-the-mouth mad, surrounded by seriously alarming piles of used, fermenting pizza boxes and empty soda bottles. And the only one who will still love you is your Mom. Maybe. Software development can be likened to being chased by a rabid Rottweiler while trying to catch an over-amped cat jonesing for tuna when you have one leg in a cast and the cat isn’t inclined to be caught and the Rottweiler seriously wants to turn your good leg into its new, favorite chew toy, you know? Continue reading