DevNet Create (Day 2): Iterating and Innovating
DevNet Create (Day 2): Iterating and Innovating
Day 2 of DevNet Create was as exciting as the first. Get some tips from IT legends on the future of development and how to be successful and innovative.
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Day 2 of DevNet Create proved to be no less engaging than the opening day.
The occasion opened with an incredible keynote by Guy Kawasaki, who spoke at length about the art of innovation.
Tapping into his decades of experience (Mr. Kawasaki worked on the original Macintosh project in the 80s and attempted to get apps for the yet-to-be revolutionary machine), he imparted nearly a dozen crucial tips to make sure individuals and companies stay competitive.
Make meaning: The best ideas for products are those that aim to change the world. If you only worry about making money, you tend to attract the wrong sorts of people to your side.
Jump to the next curve: Mr. Kawasaki tapped into an analogy using the ice harvesting industry for this point. In 1900, ice harvesting enterprises gathered up more than 9 million pounds of ice for sale. 30 years later, the technology came along to create ice in factories, which made the harvesting component largely obsolete. Meanwhile, in another 30 years, refrigeration technology became widespread, which made ice factories largely obsolete.
The lesson? "None of the ice harvesters became ice factories, and none of the ice factories became refrigeration companies." Always be ready to jump to the next curve.
Roll the DICEE: When launching a product, ensure it has the following attributes:
Depth: Ideally, a product should be layered and ready to serve multiple uses.
Intelligent: The product should be intuitive, both easy to use and easy to anticipate needs.
Complete: Particularly where related services are concerned.
Empowering: Your product should make the user a better person.
Elegant: Especially when considering UX.
Don't worry, be crappy: Minimum viable products exist for a reason. Mr. Kawasaki pointed to the Macintosh 128K as an example. "It was a piece of crap, but it was a revolutionary piece of crap." Launch your product, then iterate.
Don't be afraid to polarize: "Great products, great services polarize people." He specifically cited Tivo as the perfect example. Many users loved Tivo for the convenience it offered, but big brands hated it because it basically eliminated the need to watch commercials. Need more proof? Just type Android vs. iOS into Google, pick a forum, and enjoy the show.
Ignore naysayers: Failing isn't the worst-case scenario — never trying is. If you've got an idea, don't be dissuaded. Of course, not all naysayers are created equally. In particular, beware rich, powerful, successful naysayers. Mr. Kawasaki pointed out several examples, including an internal memo from Western Union in 1876 claiming that the telephone held no inherent value.
It's OK to change your mind: When the iPhone launched, it was a closed development system, and Steve Jobs was lauded for that decision. A year later, that system was opened up, and Steve Jobs was lauded for it. Don't be afraid to change directions.
Niche thyself: The relationship between uniqueness and value is a tricky one. If your product is too specialized, it might not find a market. If it's got a massively broad use, however, you're limited to competing based on price. Find the right mix for your product.
Let 100 flowers blossom: Paraphrasing Mao Zedong, Mr. Kawasaki advised product makers not to lock in on an intended use case. Be open to new, unintended uses and markets. For this, he cited Apple's own history. The company was banking on word processing and similar uses as the key to the personal computer's success, but desktop publishing ended up being Apple's saving grace. "Put it out there and claim victory (after the fact)," he said.
Churn, baby, churn: There are two kinds of innovators — both equally important. There are those who cause the revolution and those who evolve it. Version 1.0 is critical, but so are versions 1.1, 1.2, 2.0, etc. "That's the hardest part," Mr. Kawasaki said. "Keep at it."
Perfect your pitch: And lastly, some advice for marketing. When it comes to creating a focused pitch for potential buyers or investors, Mr. Kawasaki recommends following the 10-20-30 rule.
10: Keep your presentation to 10 slides.
20: Keep your presentation to 20 minutes.
30: Use 30 point font.
As might be expected, the second and final day of the conference had a more subdued atmosphere to it, but attendees were no less happy to participate in the various workshops and hands-on demos available (not to mention Camp Create, whose teams demoed their projects in front of the entire audience at the end of the day).
Those workshops included everything from marketing analytics to hands-on experience with OpenFaaS.
The second day of speakers included a range of subject matters as well, including an engaging talk from Okta's Randall Degges that focused exactly on how and why JSON Web Tokens are misused, aptly titled "JWTs Suck." That talk will be the focus of a separate breakout article coming in the near future.
Meanwhile, Heidi Waterhouse of LaunchDarkly ran an interactive feature flag adventure for an enraptured audience. She spoke highly of the event, particularly the smaller sized, more intimate workshops. "Usually, you see a 40-person group at these workshops," she said, adding that the roughly 20 attendees allowed for a more personal atmosphere.
At the end of it all, DevNet VP and CTO Susie Wee took to the stage to summarize the events of the past two days.
"It's been an amazing two days at Create," she said, adding that she was inspired at the sight of so many people working on hands-on projects.
She revisited the theme of connectedness as well and put forth that the next stage of IT evolution was the ability to collaboratively create solutions.
"Now that we're in this entirely new world that's connected, it's about creation," she said. DevOps has started to bridge the gap between apps and infrastructure, and it's just going to continue.
And as the conference began to wrap up, she offered the audience some parting advice about the future of development: Connect, protect, and create.
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