[etech06] Joel Spolsky – Blue Chip Products: 2006 Report Card


The concept of Blue Chip product vs. the Off Bran product – Julia Roberts vs. Sandra Bullock, iPod vs. Creative Zen, etc.

How you could make blue chip products – the formula:

– Make people happy (by giving them control)
– Think about emotions
– Obsess over the aesthetics

Ajax’s instant feedback makes people feel like they have control and makes them happy.

The iPod has obsession in making the entire experience seamless.

Some apps and how they live up to the formula or don’t:

reddit.com – people share links and other people can vote on it. The reddit mascot alien is adorable – why is he cute? He has large eyes and he’s bald, so he looks like a human baby, which we think is cute. The alien changes with little stories from day to day, which creates an emotional bond. Happy: A, Emotions: A, Aesthetics: B Final score: A

motorola Razr – best selling phone of all time. A lot of obsession over aesthetics. There’s also the PEBL – people love to feel smooth ocean beach stones, so they made a phone that people like to fondle. Motorola gets an A for emotions and an A for aesthetics, but they get a D for happy for not giving user good feeling of control. Final grade: B

Web-based calendars – Basic requirement was being able to enter a flight which starts and ends in different time zones. Tried Airset – not beautiful, but very functional – even has a java application for cell phone which works well. The first actual usable java application for cell phones. A for control, B for emotions, C for aesthetics.

There are three web design trends that have become popular in the last year – ugly, ugly, and ugly. Enough with the pastel arial, already! This is copying from Google – which is cargo cultism. Google design only makes aesthetic sense compared to the old cramped up portals.

Look at architecture 9 the Seagram building or LEver house of minimalist design – revolts against Beaux Art wedding cake monstrosities.

When Google came out with the stripped down design, it was making an interesting statement. WHen you copy their fonts you’re not making a statement.

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