Saturday, January 27, 2007

Design Principles

Designing a system is an art. To design a usable system, one has to look at the applications, abstract away from them and look for the simplest pieces to build and the interactions between these pieces, so that once that plumbing is in place, others can build on top of it. Typically the plumbing one builds does not resemble the applications one had in mind. So, the motivation that yanked one to that place in the world is not the one that helps one put on their jeans, wear hefty shoes, lift the toolbox belt, and build the pieces. Lot of applications are compelling, but the systems one needs to build for them needs the drive derived from a different source.

Steve Martin, a contributor to the New Yorker, has a beautiful piece on poor designers in hell, of inventors who bequeathed the shrinkwrap for CD covers, the ungainly pineapple and the slippery corkscrew. They are visited by the angel of good design, of Ziploc bags, the perfection of a fruit i.e., the banana, and the milk carton. What fun.

Speaking of fruits. Kiwi fruit started its life as a Chinese Gooseberry, and through New Zealand, landed in California as late as late 60's to early 70's, coinciding with the rise of Computer Science and nouvelle cuisine, and it has thrived since. While a lot of exotic fruits have been discovered and developed in US market, there are still fruits out there that are popular in local regions and for which we need a business plan to grow and market in US.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the story about the CD cases. I think it really happened!

8:26 AM  

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