Five year development plan vs 6 months

When we interact with our phones we get to interact with applications that are often built in less than a year. Many times these apps are built within 6months.

That’s the gift Apple gave to the world.

It wasn’t long ago when VCs and entreprenuers dreaded the idea of building software for mobile phones. It was a nightmare. Your app could work on one specific Samsung phone for Verizon but not ATT. And it was if you were lucky and approved.

Today, every time we touch a software product, it’s obvious if the app took 5 years or 6 months.

The built in navigation and user interface on my car? Designed in many years ago and sucks. The app on my mobile phone that tells me where to have lunch coming home on my weekend road trip in a random place? Less than 6 months and awesome.

This afternoon we watched the Spain v Italy Eurocup final on our Verizon DVR box. I set it up last week. It took about 15 clicks through the remote to set it up properly (including selecting all the options just in case the game went long or in case the DVR wanted to delete the game to make room).

And 20 minutes into watching the recorded game, the DVR froze. Then it locked up. I had to restart the box. When the box came back on, the TV tuned to the live game which and we all saw the scoreboard, 2-0. Fuck.

The whole point of recording the game was so we could watch it start to finish.

There is a part of me that feels bad for Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner Cable. They are relying on these god-awful designers at dinosaur companies to build them boxes and software designed years ago. And they are dreadful. They can’t be happy to put this stuff in front of their subscribers every day.

I don’t know how you could possibly design a consumer product so many years in advance. The world moves to fast to assume you have a clue about what users want that far off into the future. The only time it works I suppose is if you are building something so audacious where you keep the quality bar obscenely high.

The days of building proprietary apps for proprietary platforms which require broken timelines are over.

We consumers are done with that model and we are moving on.