The more I listen to the new Daft Punk, the more I’m convinced there’s an early draft of the entire album, composed entirely of samples.
“Astronauts aboard the International Space Station photographed these striking views of Pavlof Volcano on May 18, 2013. The oblique, ever-changing perspective from the Space Station reveals the three dimensional structure of the ash plume, often obscured by the top-down view of most remote sensing satellites. Pavlof, in the Aleutian Islands about 625 miles (1,000 kilometers) southwest of Anchorage, jetted lava into the air and spewed an ash cloud 20,000 feet (6,000 meters) high.”
- The new XBox isn’t for hard core gamers.
- The new Flickr isn’t for professional photographers1.
- The most recent Final Cut isn’t for filmmakers.
To make pro tools into mass tools you need to take a step back. You need to prune features only used by a relatively smaller population of professionals. You need to ignore the cries from your most loyal customers and focus on the future. Only once you’ve built a beachhead of new mass users, casual users who are more numerous but pay less, you can start training these users towards the features you once cut. Or take advantage of the clean slate and head somewhere new, where you couldn’t previously go with only the pros for support.
Perhaps the most famous pro tool to mass tool shift was the iMac and OSX. Jobs and company ignored the cries from pro audio users who clung to OS 8 and 9 to keep latency down. The challenger brand was diluted and refocused by partnering with Microsoft and Thinking Different. The floppy drive, ABD ports, and expansion cards were pulled from the final product. Many who had clung to Apple through the 90s protested. But Apple kept their heads down, focused on new users, and grew towards the digital hub.
For products with saturated user bases the first step towards a brighter future is painful. It will be fun to watch how Yahoo, Apple, and Microsoft fair.
This article is ridiculous and hand-wringing. I’m linking to it for Mayer’s comments and to illustrate the fear of mass tools. ↩