“Version 1 sucks, but ship it anyway.”
I stared up at the bold words displayed on a large screen before an audience of hundreds. All of us were seated in our best suits, eager to hear the next speaker offer his wisdom.
This was 14 years ago when entrepreneurs from all walks of life would still gather to attend business conferences in person (not just via Zoom).
The presenter who stood several feet from us was giving an impassioned speech about the magic of constantly shipping products. …
“Whatever you want to do, you can do it with Excel,” my colleague, Greg, motioned to me, over a round of burgers and fries.
At the time, I was still in the training phase of a new job working as a programmer in a large, NYC-based media company, and was still learning the ropes. Over the following weeks, Greg taught me all he knew about how to make a powerful spreadsheet. “You can use it for creating templates or to make a solid report, ” he said knowingly. “Trust me, man, it’ll make your life easier.”
I didn’t know much at the time, so needless to say, I followed his advice and began using Excel for basically everything. …
The year was 2009 and Nokia ethnographer, Tricia Wang, began to see a new trend emerge after years of conducting observational fieldwork in China.
In her research, she discovered that low-income consumers were ready to pay for more expensive smartphones, and promptly reported her findings back to Nokia.
But instead of heeding her advice and beginning to produce affordable smartphones for low-income users, they did what many companies often do when faced with a similar situation: they looked at their measurable datasets.
And the data wasn’t buying it.
In writing about her experience for Ethnography Matters, Wang attempted to explain that Nokia’s “notion of demand was a fixed quantitative model that didn’t map to how demand worked as a cultural model in China.” …