Nature or nurture? Either way it’s your parents’ fault.

images-5We are living in interesting times.  It seems at least once a month scientists discover a new gene that causes something, and yet at that same rate find a behavior that we previously thought was genetic is actually learned.  The more we learn about both nature & nurture, we still stay exactly on the fence about which is dominant.  For everyday usefulness, however, nature can’t hold a candle to nurture.

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Dessert Stomach Mind

DessertThe Zen approach to life is with the “beginner’s” mind. Basically, throw out everything you think you know and start with an empty mind. We also hear, outside of Zen, sayings such as “A mind is like a parachute–it works best when open”. I agree with these, and have had some great learning experiences that I would not have otherwise had, by employing an empty, open mind. In my daily life, however, I find this hard to do for both habitual and practical reasons. And when I look around, I see lots & lots of people who rebel against this approach entirely (especially when it comes to politics!). So, I would like to propose a modified version of this, that may be easier to swallow (pun intended), which I call the Dessert Stomach Mind. [Read more…]

Business Equals Customers

There may be a lot of people who disagree with this, but I’d like to propose the idea that the definition of the word “business” is “an entity that provides goods and/or services to other entities in return for profitable compensation”. Basically, it’s not a business until it has paying customers. We all call it a business before that, but I think that does a disservice to what you are trying to do. [Read more…]

Product development as a way of life

SteveJobsCustomerExperience01JAN2014As an engineer who works with other engineers, I’ve seen the typical mantra when it comes to new products:  “If you build it, they will come.”  To be clear, when I say I’ve seen it, I mean I’ve seen people believe it, and act as if it is true, but I’ve never actually seen it work.  In my experience, and loads of other folks’ experience as well, building up a new technology into a product and then trying to sell it is exactly the opposite way it is done successfully.  I understand technologies and ideas have to be developed a certain amount, and trial products need to be thought up, but after that, pouring more time & money into fine tuning it without first learning if it will have any customers is a waste of time.  (And also an unfortunately common practice.)

The most successful way to develop a new product is [Read more…]