Software is not eating the World.

Lessons Learned from Accel Design Conference

Thomas Schranz
Apr 10, 2014 · 3 min read

Marc Andreessen famously said that software is eating the world.
I think he is absolutely right. Spot on. From a business point of view.

Non-software companies either will have to get great at software
or they’ll be eaten by software companies.

That said, I feel software eating the world is not the ideal metaphor for the shift that’s happening right now. I don’t like the picture in my head.
It reminds me of Critters (yes, the horror comedy movie series).

From a customer’s point of view it is not like that. Not at all.
From a customer’s point of view we are heading into a magical world.
A magical world full of wonders, unicorns & rainbows.

Earlier today I attended Accel Design Conference (h/t JP Patil & DJ Patil).
Here are a few notes about my thoughts and lessons learned …

Software is breathing life into the world.

Software and context is transforming products.
Software is removing friction.
Software is removing barriers.
Software is enhancing user experience.
Software is facilitating service design.
Software is streamlining the customer journey.
Software is magical.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Arthur C. Clarke

Instead of software eating the world I see it breathing life into things.
Think Square, Uber, Google Now, Lockitron, Nest, …

Merlin’s sugar bowl from Disney’s The Sword in the Stone

Great User Experience is no longer optional.

If you think that software is already very user friendly and has surprisingly great user experience compared to a few years ago you are in for a treat.

It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.

Steve Jobs

We are just at the tip of the iceberg. More and more companies start to see great user experience as competetive advantage. Essential.
Great user experience is no longer optional. No longer an after-thought.

  • Organizations get re-structured into cross-functional teams.
  • UX becomes part of the agile process / feature lifecycle.
  • Everyone works in product.
  • Everyone is responsible for user experience.
  • Everyone is expected to understand their customer
    (Uber requires designers to drive, Slack’s CEO is spending hours on customer support per day, Atlassian is putting engineers on support, …)
Arthur in Disney’s The Sword and the Stone.

Great User Experience is about compassion.

If you strive to create products with great user experience your software development process is driven by situations, context & compassion.

You focus on first principles.
You seek truth in situations and emotions.
You focus on jobs to be done.
You focus on journeys.
You focus on stories.
You aren’t just aiming for delight.
You aim for compassion.

Archimedes is amused because he just saw Merlin’s airplane crash. A machine that flies. What a ridiculous idea …

DJ Patil had a fantastic slide about this. How do you feel if you see something bad is happening or about to happen to your customers?

Sympathy: Man that sucks.
Empathy: I feel your pain.
Compassion: How can I help.

Contrast Archimedes’ actions with the female squirrel Arthur meets. They’ve just met, yet she risks her own life to save him from the wolf …

We do live in truly fascinating times.
If there ever was a time to breathe life into things it is now …

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Thomas Schranz

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Founder at Blossom & Lemmings

Product Love ❤

Posts on Product Strategy, Management, Design, Development & Marketing.