It's Not What Your Software Does, It's What People Do With Your Software
Last month I purchased GarageBand for my iPad. I used to be pretty involved in the music industry, so I was really interested to see how Apple had translated a music sequencer into an iPad application. The result is really amazing and I had a blast assembling drum tracks, bending guitar strings and playing B3 organs.
But then I gave it to my 7-year old.
In about 15 minutes he had created a song. It had a drum track and some rock guitar and it sounded pretty good. In fact, in his mind it was amazing. He instantly wanted to send it out to grandparents, aunts and uncles and would play it for anyone who would listen. He had discovered the joy of creating music.
Why do I tell you this story? Because often in the software world we get caught up with "feature lists." Feature lists make it so easy for us to compare our software against our competition. But feature lists don't ensure outcomes.The iPad version of Garageband would lose in a feature comparison with any other music recording application. It's missing a ton of basic features that are required for a good music recorder. But none of that matters because it can make a 7-year old feel like a rockstar. The creators of Garageband for iPad didn't care about what their software could do. They cared about what people could do with their software.
Take a good look at the software you are creating. Are you creating a list of features or are you turning ordinary people into rock stars?
- Can you take a low skilled photographer and make them look great?
- Can you take a small business owner and turn them into a web analytics genius?
- Can you take ordinary people and turn them into documentation superstars?
The features don't matter. It's all about the outcomes. What can people do with your software? How does it make them better or happier? Can it turn a 7-year old into a rock star? I know our software can't – yet, but it is something to which we should all aspire.