Ben Thompson on Apple versus Amazon


I mean it when I say these companies are the complete opposite: Apple sells products it makes; Amazon sells products made by anyone and everyone. Apple brags about focus; Amazon calls itself “The Everything Store”. Apple is a product company that struggles at services; Amazon is a services company that struggles at product. Apple has the highest margins and profits in the world; Amazon brags that other’s margin is their opportunity, and until recently, barely registered any profits at all. And, underlying all of this, Apple is an extreme example of a functional organization, and Amazon an extreme example of a divisional one.

 169   2018   Apple   quotes

Mimic 2.0: The client’s feedback

I’ve recently designed the new user interface for Mimic, a web developer tool for mocking server responses in a browser. Ilya Gelman, one of the Mimic’s developers, comments on working with me:

Ilya is of that rare kind of designers that seek to find solutions to problems instead of matching colors and shadows. He asks the right questions, concentrates on important things and understands that real products aren’t just beautiful pictures on dribble. He helped us redefine our tool to make it simpler to use and easier to understand.

Working with local Israeli designers, we usually communicated by real-time channels like Slack, WhatsApp or phone. It was a bit different with Ilya because we had to communicate mainly via email and had to schedule our calls ahead of time. Part of this was the difference in time zones and part of it was Ilya’s principle of managing his own time, which I can fully understand and respect. All in all we never had an issue of lack of communication and everything was always delivered on time.

What I liked about Ilya the most is that he was able to explain the reasoning behind his design decisions, and that he knew how to work together with us to get our tool released on time.

 58   2017   feedback   projects   quotes

Jony Ive on blunt criticism

I am listening to an audiobook on Steve Jobs. A quote about blunt criticism:

That’s why “That’s shit!” was as common response from Steve as a pointed question or a thoughtful discussion. He wanted smart answers and he didn’t want to waste time on niceties when it was simpler to be clear, no matter how critical his response.

“The reason you sugarcoat things is that you don’t want anyone to think you are an asshole. So, that’s vanity”, explains Jony Ive […] “As a design chief, I was on a receiving end of Steve’s blunt criticisms as much as anyone”. Whenever he felt abused he would tell himself that someone who sugarcoats his true opinions might not really even be all that concerned about the other person’s feelings, he just doesn’t want to appear to be a jerk. But if he really cared about the work, he would be less vain and would talk directly about the work.

That’s the way Steve was. That’s why he’d say “That’s shit!”, but then the next day or the next after he also would just as likely come back saying, “Jony, I’ve been thinking a lot about what you’ve showed me, and I think it’s very interesting after all. Let’s talk about it some more”.

Steve put it this way: “You hire people who are better than you are at certain things and then make sure they know that they need to tell you when you’re wrong”.

 27   2015   Apple   books   quotes

John Siracusa on the new MacBook

In ATP episode 108, John Siracusa is on fire regarding the new MacBook’s layered battery.

Listen from 47:30 to 48:35:

You know what else would give you more room for battery, Phil? Stop tapering the damn thing! It’s barely tapered as it is, you’re just torturing yourself. It’s barely a wedge, all you are doing is making your own life worse. If you made this thing the same thickness from front to back, think of how much more battery... it’s not like an insignificant amount of battery. The batteries inside of this are so slim and so skinny and so tiny, that not tapering it could give you like 30-40% more battery!

 20   2015   quotes

John Gruber compares iPhone and Apple Watch introductions

John Gruber compares iPhone and Apple Watch introductions in Episode 14 of Electric Shadow podcast (starting at around 1h 24m mark):

I think that the best was the 2007 Macworld expo keynote introducing the iPhone. Let’s see where they go with the watch, but I think even in the most optimistic scenario the watch doesn’t change everything the way the iPhone did.

The iPhone was pulled out of thin air. I think to this day — now we are 7,5 years after that — it was absolutely five years ahead of its time, maybe more. I think maybe if Apple had never released it, the phones we would have been using in 2012, five years later still wouldn’t have been like that. It was impossible. It really is just what it seemed like.

I don’t think they needed a good event, I think they could have had a shitty event to announce it, and if they released the exact same phone seven months later, it would have been fine. It would eventually, with the years, work out.

The advantage of having a perfect event to announce it though was that for the people who opened their minds and just paid attention to it, it gave us a head start as to just what it was that we’ve seen. Half of the people who were paying attention came out that event understanding: Wow. This is amazing. The entire tech world has just changed. And then the other half were, like, this is ridiculous, the thing doesn’t even have a keyboard, no one’s gonna buy it. But if you paid attention, the fact that the event was so perfect, it gave you the context to understand something without ever actually even getting to use the device.


 13   2014   Apple Watch   Gruber   iPhone   quotes
 64   2014   quotes   user interface

Francesco Franchi on form and substance

Francesco Franchi, in Designing News:

It is therefore necessary to rediscover graphics and typography as keys to journalistic expression. Not just as embellishment or aesthetics, reflecting the old Aristotelian view of form and substance as separate and opposed, but as a way of making form itself into substance. The distinction between form and content is therefore fictitious, and exists only when it refers to a division of tasks and competences (hence the need for effective forms of communication within editorial offices).

 10   2014   design   quotes

On Jordan Price’s experience working at Apple

Jordan Price in I wanted to work at Apple really bad, and now not so much:

Then at lunch time I wiped the iPad data clean, put the files I had been working on neatly on the server, left all their belongings on my desk, and I got in my car and drove home. I left a message for my boss and told him he’s the worst boss I had ever encountered in my entire professional career...

Ok, so what you are saying is that all the time you have been working at Apple you have not tried to solve the problems you had, prefering to ignore them instead. And when it got unbearable, you just left, betraying your employer and your recruiter.

And then you are saying that you are looking for a new job. Oops.

 30   2014   Apple   life   quotes

Systematic Destruction of Twitter

Ben Brooks writes:

Twitter is pivoting from a communication tool that regimes sought to shut down in times of revolt, to a tool that in those same times of revolt regimes will embrace and pay to use Twitter to spread propaganda.

 12   2012   quotes

Gruber and Siegler in The Talk Show #4

In The Talk Show #4 John Gruber is joined by MG Siegler. What a company! It was recorded before WWDC, and they were discussing all sorts of rumors, it was quite entertaining.

Then there was an interesting take on why one should care even about the small details which “regular” people won’t notice. Gruber (48:46...):

Maybe people don’t buy Newsweek and think, my god this thing is very finely printed. You may not think it, but you notice it. And that’s just like the way Apple stuff is all the way. Where people don’t buy, well, normal people don’t buy the iPhone and think about how nice the seams are between the steel antenna and the glass in front. You may not think about it, but you appreciate it.

But the most amusing part was on Google. Staring with Apple’s move to in-house maps and a pathetic Google’s pre-WWDC event (56:54...) and ending with an analogy with Microsoft (1:21:20...). Gruber:

Google is to me the new Microsoft, where they are the ones sticking their fingers in everybody else’s pies, and not making any friends, and spoiling the friends that they had... How far this industry can go in five years: when the iPhone was introduced there’s Eric Smidt invited up on stage backslapping with Steve Jobs talking about what great almost sibling companies Google and Apple are... And now look where they are. The way I see it is, Google’s really made enemies of everybody...


And it’s one of those things like we were talking about earlier, where, you know, you talk to them, and they don’t seem to be aware of this. Even though it’s not like a big secret, and anyone can see it...


It does seem like they are oblivious about it, and that’s to me is a difference from when Microsoft was the enemy of everybody in the Walley, is that Microsoft seemed very self-aware of their role... But Google seems to think that they are still everybody’s friend and everybody else kind of hates them.

 39   2012   Apple   Gruber   quotes
Earlier Ctrl + ↓