Steve Jobs on “Deep Collaboration”

A quote from Steve Jobs biography.

Because he [Jobs] believed that Apple’s great advantage was its integration of the whole widget—from design to hardware to software to content—he wanted all departments at the company to work together in parallel. The phrases he used were “deep collaboration” and “concurrent engineering.”

Instead of a development process in which a product would be passed sequentially from… design to manufacturing to marketing and distribution, these various departments collaborated simultaneously. “Our method was to develop integrated products, and that meant our process had to be integrated and collaborative,” Jobs said.

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Apple’s design secrets

I’m reading the Steve Job biography at the moment. It’s so gripping!

Here are some highlights about design. First Jony Ive,

Much of the design process is a conversation… There are no formal design reviews, so there are no huge decision points. Instead, we can make the decisions fluid. Since we iterate every day and never have dumb-ass presentations, we don’t run into major disagreements

Jobs’ biographer writes,

Because he [Jobs] believed that Apple’s great advantage was its integration of the whole widget—from design to hardware to software to content—he wanted all departments at the company to work together in parallel. The phrases he used were “deep collaboration” and “concurrent engineering.”

Instead of a development process in which a product would be passed sequentially from engineering to design to manufacturing to marketing and distribution, these various departments collaborated simultaneously. “Our method was to develop integrated products, and that meant our process had to be integrated and collaborative,” Jobs said.

This approach also applied to key hires. He would have candidates meet the top leaders—Cook, Tevanian, Schiller, Rubinstein, Ive—rather than just the managers of the department where they wanted to work. “Then we all get together without the person and talk about whether they’ll fit in,” Jobs said… You need to have a collaborative hiring process.

My favorite quotes from the book are

  • “Less but better”, Dieter Rams
  • “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”, Leonardo da Vinci

One last extract from Ive,

Why do we assume that simple is good? Because with physical products, we have to feel we can dominate them. As you bring order to complexity, you find a way to make the product defer to you. Simplicity isn’t just a visual style. It’s not just minimalism or the absence of clutter. It involves digging through the depth of the complexity. To be truly simple, you have to go really deep.

For example, to have no screws on something, you can end up having a product that is so convoluted and so complex. The better way is to go deeper with the simplicity, to understand everything about it and how it’s manufactured. You have to deeply understand the essence of a product in order to be able to get rid of the parts that are not essential

The problem isn’t fake news or Facebook

There’s been a lot of noise recently about fake news being promoted by Facebook.

I believe the bigger problem is real news. It’s a more subtle problem, but also more dangerous because we consume far more real news than fake news.

I believe that this is a big opportunity for the people bold enough to tackle it.

Here are four big problems with news. (1) People look to news to make sense of the world but…

News makes it harder to understand the world, not easier

News lacks perspective.

For example, 9/11 was huge news. The news made people fear terrorism despite the fact that terrorism is actually a very minor risk.

In the UK, bees and wasps kill more people than terrorism.

In the US, there are 600,000 deaths a year from heart disease compared to 30 a year from terrorism.

2. News makes people miserable

News is negatively skewed. The Metro.co.uk homepage currently has twice as many negative stories as positive stories. Other news sites are worse.

This is despite the fact that the world is more peaceful, people are healthier, and people are materially better off than ever before in human history.

3. Information overload

We spend over 8 hours a day consuming media!

MailOnline publishes 900 articles a day!

4. News misses most of the interesting stuff

Most of the interesting content on the web is NOT news.

Most of the best stuff on YouTube, Reddit and Instagram is NOT news.

TED.com, Netflix, Time Out and Meetup.com are NOT news.

A quick recap

News misleads people, makes people miserable, overloads people and misses most of the interesting stuff out there.

The opportunity

What if there was…

  • A brand that was more interesting
  • A brand that makes you happier
  • A brand that freed up more of your time
  • A brand that makes the world clearer, rather than distorting it

There is a parallel with the fast food industry – the likes of McDonalds are being replaced by Subway and Pret. Consumers have become more savvy and now expect their food to be not just fast and tasty but healthier too.

I believe the same thing will happen to news. The first brand to figure out how will win big.

What do you think… is it time to re-invent news?

Related links

Rocket Surgery Made Easy

Snippet from “Rocket Surgery Made Easy” by UX guru Steve Krug.

“…the kind of testing i’m recommending you do… definitely qualititive. The purpose isn’t to prove anything; it’s to get insights that enable you to improve what you’re building.

As a result, do-it-yourself tests can be much more informal and, well, unscientific. This means that you can test fewer users…

There’s no data gathering involved. Instead, members of the development team, stakeholders, and any other interested parties observe the session from another room…

The funny thing is, it just works”

 

 

My code!

Some snippets of my Metro.co.uk code, because Word doesn’t like embedding links to GitHub.

It’s all from 2014 (except the Jasmine code which is 2013). They are mainly private repos.

  • Ruby/Sinatra/Redis micro-service for polls. More complex app here.
  • WordPress custom plugin for AB testing headlines. I’ve been promoting the use of plugins to keep our code modular.
  • Java/Spring. I introduced Spring Boot when we created the Metro news feed API. Spring Boot massively simplified development – it was our first true micro-service.
  • Play Framework (Java). I extended our real-time app to support AB testing headlines (uses Redis).
  • CasperJS end-to-end tests, lightning fast.
  • JUnit (integration) tests for our news feed stored procedure. We’d be lost without these tests!
  • Jasmine. I was the first Metro developer to introduce JavaScript unit tests (when i was working on our Omniture integration).
  • AngularJS prototype of probabilistic learning algorithm
  • Sass, CSS media queries and SMACSS for our polls widget
  • MySQL. I’ve optimized our news feed stored procedure to be 10x faster (with 10x less code). Still experimental.

Other tech highlights in 2014:

  •  I’m the first Metro developer to host a production app on Heroku. It’s PaaS which means zero infrastructure!
  • Slides from my CasperJS preso at MOL table update. No slides for my AB testing preso i’m afraid.

Going further back, here is my 2011 blog post about Metro’s use of Akamai, based on my lightning talk at the London Java Community.

Lastly, just in case you’re wondering where my love of programming started, i started programming in 1981 on a ZX81. Two years later i submitted a game – “Robin Hood” for the Vic20 – to Virgin Games. It didn’t get published but they were very encouraging!