Monday, February 11, 2008

I Just Want to Ride a Bike…

I came across an article in Hemispheres Magazine (UAL publication) about this time last year. The article was about cycling, and last February I was just getting back into cycling after a long break from it, so I was intrigued. Aside from getting back into cycling I was also buried in everything Smart Space attempting to build and launch this new product. I was shocked how much this article related what I was doing in software to what Shimano was planning to do for cycling. The article started off talking about how the Lance Armstrong era of cycling was over and the wave of high end bike sales was coming to an end in the U.S. So Shimano went off to figure out how they could get people to again love the sport of cycling and therefore buy more products. The conclusions they found is where all the similarities came. They found that people had very fond memories of cycling and really enjoyed the idea of it but could not wrap their head around the complexity of what cycling has become. Things like 10 speed cogs, carbon forks, STI shifters, and clip less pedals had started to overwhelm the average cyclist. The basic conclusion was that people just wanted to ride a bike; simplicity. This is what I really related to; the goals of Smart Space are in line with this, end users want simplicity. Many end users don't want to worry about connection settings, indexes, caching, dimensionality, etc. they just what to know how their travel expenses will impact the department's budget for this quarter or get the status of their sales pipeline. I saw that the key for Shimano and Smart Space was in simplicity. So whenever I think about a feature or plan out a new gadget I think about the idea that people just want to ride a bike.

Here is the article so you can decide for yourself if the concepts really relate:

http://www.ideo.com/pdf/Hemispheres_2007-02.pdf

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