More than Moore

By John Maeda via kpcb.com/blog/   Article

Why Design Matters More than Moore

“From the beginning of the semiconductor industry a half-century ago, Moore’s Law has propelled Silicon Valley into the future. The impact of Gordon Moore’s observation that engineers learn how to double the number of transistors in an integrated circuit chip every 18 months without doubling the cost is astonishing. Today, however, with all of the computing power already at our fingertips, we’re discovering that ever-faster technology may matter far less than beautiful, intuitive, easy-to-use products and services. In short, we’re learning that design may matter more than Moore. …

Moore’s Law is making way for design.

Old-guard techies were happy as long as computers got faster, which equated with ‘better.’ But while regular users also appreciate speed, they appreciate experience even more. Imagine the decision to purchase two cars: The first is 10 times faster but highly uncomfortable to sit in, while the second operates well at the speed limit and is extremely comfortable to sit in and drive. If you’re a racecar driver, the former will appeal to you. But if, like most of us, you’re not, your heart will land with the second car.

Just as you cannot imagine buying a car without design, we have entered an age in which you cannot buy tech without design. That’s important for the entrepreneurs and investors who decide how to incorporate design into product development. Faster technology makes a marginal difference, but better design can create quantum leaps in customer satisfaction that distinguish the winners in the marketplace. …

A ‘tech company’ makes technology – so it is no surprise the engineering mattered the most, especially when the only reason we’d buy a digital gadget or service was for reasons of faster, bigger or cheaper. Experience was an afterthought. The technology sold itself. Adding design at the very end of the development of a technology made perfect sense, as it could come at a minimal cost. However devices like the Nest thermostat illustrate a different approach, where design is baked in from the beginning. It looks like the addition of significant cost — or it looks like needed investment to create an exquisitely beloved product that could be acquired for $3.2 billion by Google.”

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