May 10, 2003

"It's all about applications and functionality, not technology": Jeff Hawkins Interviewed

The Treo 300 is one of my favorite products around, this interview with Handspring's Jeff Hawkins shows why:

I'm not a technology guy. I understand technologies, but I don't really get excited about technologies. I get excited about applications. I've been cautious about Bluetooth for many years, because I ask myself what a user would do with it. It reminds me of infrared. Infrared was in a bunch of products, but no one ever used it. And we didn't put it into the Palm Pilot until we had a great application for it.

We were the first people to make infrared popular. You could beam card information from one device to another. It worked 100 percent of the time, and essentially it became the first real successful consumer application of infrared in a computing device. It's all about applications and functionality, not technology.

Repeat after me. "It's all about applications and functionality, not technology". There is a reason this guy makes such great products.

Posted by Abe at May 10, 2003 10:49 PM


But, I don't think one should forget...
Oftentimes it's the technologies that suggest the applications...

Is that really true? I think most of the time it isn't, and I think that was Hawkins' point. The IR port example in the interview is excellent. Nothing about the IR port suggested beaming contact info. It took a skilled application and product developer to see that implementation. Now of course you need both the technology and the developer to make anything happen, but the point is without the human insite the tech goes nowhere...

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