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iPod Engineer Tony Fadell On the Unique Nature of Apple's Design Process 193

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-am-so-great dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Often referred to as the godfather of the iPod, former Apple executive and current Nest CEO Tony Fadell played an instrumental part in Apple's resurgence. Recently, Fadell opined on what makes Apple's design process different from the rest of the pack. Fadell explained that a key and yet often overlooked, difference between Apple and other tech companies is that Apple ships 99% of the products that pass certain internal milestones. By way of contrast, during Fadell's tenure at Philips — where he was charged with overseeing the company's audio strategy — the iPod guru noted that Philips would axe 9 projects out of 10, even if a particular product was about to ship."
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iPod Engineer Tony Fadell On the Unique Nature of Apple's Design Process

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  • by joeflies (529536) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @09:13PM (#42622145)
    Sounds like that internal milestone is a special bar. How many projects reach that milestone? Is it more than 1 out of 10?
    • by Robadob (1800074)
      Or even how long does it take for projects to reach that milestone, they might just keep reworking them.
      • by milkmage (795746) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @11:42PM (#42622863)

        maybe not reworking but waiting for tech to catch up with the idea.... don't forget the iphone was born of the ipad.
        i guess at the time, given current technology, Apple could't reach that milestone in a 10" formfactor, but they could in 4"

        "I thought, 'My God we can build a phone out of this,"' Jobs said at The Wall Street Journal's "D: All Things Digital" conference in Rancho Palos Verdes.

        Apple must have had the ipad idea as early as ~2000.. (phone launched in 2007, assuming 5 years in the oven... the idea came to him in 2002.. so the ipad must have been researched/prototyped at least a year ot two before that before they decided 2002/3/4 technology wasn't going to work for an ipad)... 8-10 years or so before the ipad actually made it to shelves.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Friday January 18, 2013 @05:29AM (#42624051) Homepage

          The iPhone was released a little bit too early I think, and Apple has been paying for it ever since. For example, due to lack of processing/GPU power and a desire to make apps look slick they decided to go with a fixed resolution and mono-tasking. Now they are stuck with making every new screen a multiple of the original iPhone or iPad resolution, and suffering from black borders when they wanted to go widescreen. They can't easily introduce multitasking either, just a kind of bodge for a few select applications.

          In the medium term it has worked for them, but in the longer term they built a platform with many of the limitations that desktop operating systems suffered from in the 80s. Many never overcame those limits, and when they did it was often with a horror show like Windows 95.

          • by DarkOx (621550)

            I think this is going to be the undoing of the iPhone as well. Some of the new droid handhelds can do split screen.

            I saw a co-worked demo watching a video while texting, and actually though "I kinda want that.."

            If you are watching a video on a long bus ride, it sucks to have someone text you the iPhone.

            • Some of the new droid handhelds can do split screen.

              Good grief. Yes, split-screen apps really was an advantage for HP WebOS wasn't it. So successful.

              If you are watching a video on a long bus ride, it sucks to have someone text you the iPhone.

              Either you want to stick with the movie, or you want to read/reply to the message, and go back to the movie later. You can try and do both, but in reality you'll just lose track of what's happening in the movie.

              The ability to do both on a phone is a novelty.

          • by BasilBrush (643681) on Friday January 18, 2013 @12:07PM (#42625989)

            I agree that they launched a little bit too early. But the symptom of that was the unavailability of a native SDK at launch, and the associated nonsense about web apps being the platform. Also the original lack or cut'n'paste.

            But not these...

            For example, due to lack of processing/GPU power and a desire to make apps look slick they decided to go with a fixed resolution and mono-tasking. Now they are stuck with making every new screen a multiple of the original iPhone or iPad resolution, and suffering from black borders when they wanted to go widescreen. They can't easily introduce multitasking either, just a kind of bodge for a few select applications.

            Neither of those are true.

            Fixed resolution has nothing to do with limited CPU/GPU power. It's a positive design decision. That on a small screen apps need to be specifically designed for a particular screen, not be resizable.

            And of course Apple could quite easily introduce traditional multitasking. It's intrinsic to the unix that underlies the OS. And all the levels above that were already created with multitasking ability, as they were adapted from OSX. And the CPU was certainly enough to support it. The iPhone CPU from the start was far more powerful than the original Mac CPUs that OSX ran on. The very easiest thing to do would be to introduce traditional multitasking.

            They didn't for two reasons.

            a) Battery life. You see it on Android very often that some crappily written app that's still running in the background takes hours off the battery life. That doesn't happen on iOS.

            b) Simplicity of the UI for users. Phones are supposed to be simple devices, with app interactions typically being seconds rather than minutes or hours. Nor do Phones don't have overlapping windows, nor screen real estate for permanent docks/task bars - the indicators of multiple apps running on desktop OSs. So some other form of app switcher/manager is required for multitasking. The original concept was that this was too heavyweight for a phone.

            The fixed screen size decision is a good one that has stood the test of time. iPhone apps ARE better for being specifically designed for the size of screen. And doubling is the perfect answer to higher resolution technology being available.

            The longer screen size is fine, as in practice, the tricky dimension is the width. Most apps are list based, so having more of a list shown doesn't change the app design. Whereas changing the width would mean different text limits/layout of list items.

            The initial design decision of no multitasking didn't last. But it's no bad thing to start with a very simple UI design, then add more complicated features later. And they did keep the battery conservation plan by only allowing system services at actually run in the background.

            in the longer term they built a platform with many of the limitations that desktop operating systems suffered from in the 80s. Many never overcame those limits, and when they did it was often with a horror show like Windows 95.

            Haven't a clue what you're talking about here. Presumably it's something about the lack of pre-emptive multitasking on early OSs. But the iPhone HAS pre-emptive multitasking. It just doesn't allow multiple apps to run arbitrary code at the same time. That's not the same thing.

          • They can't easily introduce multitasking either, just a kind of bodge for a few select applications.

            multitasking on android is not general purpose multitasking either. it's not like you can just press the "&" button and send any app to the background. a mobile OS can't really work like that either, unless you have a very large battery.

            • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

              it's not like you can just press the "&" button and send any app to the background.

              That's exactly what it's like. Hold the home button to switch apps, sending one of the foreground ones to the background.

              • you have a profound misunderstanding of how your device works. android does a decent job of acting like a desktop OS in that regard but the reality is quite different.

                when you put an app in the "background" on android, it stops. it sticks around in memory, not running, so it can be loaded faster next time ... but only until the OS needs the memory. the OS can destroy the process of any background app at any time if it needs the memory. as a side note, there's no swap on android.

                even if the OS destroys the a

        • Apple must have had the ipad idea as early as ~2000....

          The idea came a lot earlier than the execution. Sometime around 1980, my wife described an iPad to me, fairly accurately as to its general capabilities, and said that's what she wanted. I thought a bit, and said it would be neat but it couldn't be done with available technology.

    • by harperska (1376103) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @09:28PM (#42622249)

      It would be interesting to know exactly what that internal milestone is. Obviously, the ability to axe projects is core to Apple's business, as evidenced by the tiny number of SKUs they offer at any point in time compared to most electronics companies. And there have been rumors that Jobs could be particularly brutal when it came to shutting down projects that he didn't think were worthy.

      The difference must be that while all companies axe projects, Apple makes cuts earlier than other companies and only lets the few chosen projects make any progress in the lifecycle. Whereas other companies take a 'throw everything at the wall and see what sticks' mentality, and only cut projects later when they aren't good enough. Sometimes they cut too late (e.g. MS Kin).

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 17, 2013 @09:39PM (#42622329)

        What he's saying is that Apple has an actual functional interal milestone systems.
        Other companies say they have a milestone system, but it's really bullshit lip service. What ships is up to the whim of whoever in charge, and failures are scraped under the rug because whoever in charge met the "milestone" and thus gets his bonus.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Smauler (915644)

        Judging how a company performs by how few projects it axes is laughable. Every company when growing heavily invests internally in everything. Every company when not growing heavily does not, and axes a lot of stuff.

        This is simple stuff.

        • When things are developed right through to ready to ship, and then are cancelled, that's a huge waste of money. Your comment doesn't reflect that fact.

          Nor have you taken on board the morale issues that Fadell raises.

          It isn't nearly as simple as you think.

        • Judging how a company performs by how few projects it axes is laughable.

          That's probably why nobody did.

      • by v1 (525388)

        I see more to this "milestone" thing than a single hurdle. It's probably better to look at it as a "product development cycle" where there are several tiers a product has to pass through, with similar but higher requirements at each step.

        1. throw some money at it
        2. add featuers
        3. remove / combine features / refine
        4. in-house and user testing
        5. decide if it's worth continuing

        and then it repeats, with more money, fewer new features, more careful and thorough refining, and more thorough testing at each next s

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 17, 2013 @11:35PM (#42622835)

        The MS Kin was a special case.

        It wasn't so much that it was a loser that should have been culled; rather, it was destroyed by poor decisions from Microsoft middle-management.

        Basically, MS bought a successful company, Danger. Danger's "Sidekick" was a feature-phone with a well-chosen feature mix. Kin was to be the next Sidekick, and it should have been the same success the Sidekick was. The most interesting feature: it was supposed to have a special low-cost data plan. Instead of being a full smartphone, it was going to be a "social media" phone; SMS, Twitter, and Facebook wouldn't put too much load on the data network, so Verizon agreed to offer a special low-cost data plan.

        Well, a Microsoft middle manager forced the guys working on the Kin to scrap the old Danger code base, and rewrite everything to Windows CE. After all, Microsoft didn't want to have to support two code bases, right?

        But the delay caused by the rewrite was fatal. The special low-cost data plan evaporated (Verizon was pissed at the delays), and instead of being a low-cost phone with a low-cost data plan, it became a phone that cost about the same as other phones, and had a data plan exactly as expensive as other phones, but wasn't a smartphone so the built-in apps couldn't be added to. That last was really stupid: since the Kin guys were forced to rewrite to Windows CE, it should have been possible to put a Windows Phone app store on the device, and the Kin team wanted to do it. They were denied, again a stupid decision by MS management (and I guess internal MS politics).

        Had the Kin shipped 18 months earlier, even 12 months earlier, with the less-expensive data plan? It should have been a big hit like the Sidekick. Had it shipped as a smartphone with an app store, it might have had some sort of a chance. But as a featurephone that cost like a smartphone, it was instantly doomed.

        So yeah I guess MS should have culled it rather than endured the embarrassment around the Kin disaster. But better still they should have had less broken decision-making by their own middle management.

        http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2010/07/a-post-mortem-of-kins-tragic-demise/ [arstechnica.com]

        http://www.engadget.com/2010/07/02/life-and-death-of-microsoft-kin-the-inside-story/ [engadget.com]

        • by water-and-sewer (612923) on Friday January 18, 2013 @06:01AM (#42624149) Homepage

          This comment is the most interesting/informative thing I've read all week. I'd just add that, as I recall, the marketing campaign that accompanied the Kin was abysmal. Not only was it trying too hard to be 'hip,' but it came across instead as creepy, focusing on a guy stalking his ex-girlfriend or something ridiculous like that. How can an organization stuffed with so many 'professional managers' come up with an advertizing campaign that hits so far off the mark? (yeah, I know, I know).

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by UnknowingFool (672806)

          Well, a Microsoft middle manager forced the guys working on the Kin to scrap the old Danger code base, and rewrite everything to Windows CE. After all, Microsoft didn't want to have to support two code bases, right?

          Not exactly. Danger used Java which would never be allowed for a MS product.

          But the delay caused by the rewrite was fatal. The special low-cost data plan evaporated (Verizon was pissed at the delays), and instead of being a low-cost phone with a low-cost data plan, it became a phone that cost about the same as other phones, and had a data plan exactly as expensive as other phones, but wasn't a smartphone so the built-in apps couldn't be added to. That last was really stupid: since the Kin guys were forced to rewrite to Windows CE, it should have been possible to put a Windows Phone app store on the device, and the Kin team wanted to do it. They were denied, again a stupid decision by MS management (and I guess internal MS politics).

          I've seen many people blame Verizon for the Kin but in fairness to Verizon, MS was 12 months late in a market where new generations come like every six months or so.

          Had the Kin shipped 18 months earlier, even 12 months earlier, with the less-expensive data plan? It should have been a big hit like the Sidekick. Had it shipped as a smartphone with an app store, it might have had some sort of a chance. But as a featurephone that cost like a smartphone, it was instantly doomed.

          Also lost is this was the Kin was unstable and buggy when launched. After MS gave up, Verizon re-launched it. Many of the smartphone features were stripped and the bugs were ironed out.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Number of products that Philips actually produces and ships: ~20,000+
      Number of products that Apple actually produces and ships: ~50

    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @10:25PM (#42622565)

      Sounds like that internal milestone is a special bar. How many projects reach that milestone? Is it more than 1 out of 10?

      At Apple, the milestone was "Steve approved it." Everywhere else, it's decided by committee. That's why 9 out of 10 are yanked... just like anything else decided by committee.

    • by milkmage (795746)

      yeah, it's a special bar..

      https://plus.google.com/+VicGundotra/posts/gcSStkKxXTw [google.com]

      "CEOs should care about details. Even shades of yellow. On a Sunday."

      • by schnell (163007)

        CEOs should care about details

        CEOs should care about details that are important to customers and the company's long-term success. There are lots and lots of details a CEO should NOT care about.

        For example, I have worked at smaller companies where the CEO wanted to review each travel request to see if they could find a lower airfare - and the usual result was that by the time they checked it, the airfare cost had gone up. So if your CEO asks you "what is the customer experience for this product, end to end, and are we delivering on every

        • Steve never reorganised the parking spaces. He just dumped his car in a disabled space. They're always by the door.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 18, 2013 @01:44AM (#42623243)

      The big difference between Philips and Apple isn't whether projects are killed earlier or later.

      The difference is how the projects come to be and reach these milestones.

      Philips uses a "technology platform" system, or at least did during the time Tony was there. I don't know what they use now. That means someone in a technology division at the company develops a technology. Then they develop some platforms that use the technology. They then produce reference platforms or designs that use the technology. Then they take those reference designs around the company and try to find a product group in the company that wishes to ship a product like that.

      The problem with this is that it is pushing a rope. You frequently will make up products that show off a technology but that few people would want to use let alone buy. This system was commonplace with companies at the time. You can still see this system if you look at something like dealextreme or meritline. You will see many companies (barely more than entrepreneurs in these cases) who make products simply because the technology lends itself to them, regardless of whether anyone would want to use it.

      The big difference in how Apple did it, and still does it, is that Apple identifies a product people would want to use and doesn't currently exist or at least doesn't broadly exist in an easily usable form. Then Apple goes out and buys, develops or partners with a company to develop technologies that make that product work or work better. The company then evaluates the product before shipping it, deciding if the product is really something people would use. Rarely does the company have a change of heart about the basic product, but sometimes products get killed because the result doesn't really work in a way the customer would like it. For example, if a product doesn't work smoothly, it may be delayed until faster processors come along. The G5 MacBook Pro was fully developed and then killed because (among some other issues) the battery life was so short no one would find it useful.

      And that's why Apple products usually ship, because they were designed to ship from day 0. Philips products started out being made simply because they could be, and so many of them died on the vine when it was realized no one wanted them or even if they just can't convince any product division they would like to ship that product.

      Sources: I know people who worked at Philips. I have worked at Apple. And I've talked to these Philips people and Tony Fadell specifically about these particular differences between Philips and Apple.

    • by Swampash (1131503)

      Sounds like that internal milestone is a special bar. How many projects reach that milestone? Is it more than 1 out of 10?

      Apple decides to not even start on projects, or cancels them EARLY, if they won't reach that milestone. Compare that with companies that devote time and thought and energy to products that get killed or suck at launch because they're not good enough.

      Jobs in 1997:

      People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying n

    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      Even if it is, it means projects get axed well before those responsible have put their heart and soul into it.

    • by trout007 (975317)

      The key isn't the number it is how it's done. Where I work we have 4 major milestones.

      First is the pitch to get the project approved in the first place.

      Then the first design review is just an overall layout and functional requirements. This represents about 10% of the work. This is where a project should get cut. It should be clear what is and isn't possible based on cost and schedule.

      The second design review is where all of the parts are identified and roughly designed. This is about 30% of the work This g

    • Plural

  • by Megahard (1053072)

    Seems more likely that Philips is the one that's different from the pack.

    • Yeah, especially in the software industry. Maybe it would be better to say, "axing 9 out of 10 projects is one of many ways to make your company fail" rather than to say, "not doing that is how Apple succeeded." Pretty sure there is a lot more to Apple's success than that.
  • Killing them early (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kergan (780543) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @09:21PM (#42622197)

    Excuse me for asking, but... How is "products that pass certain internal milestones" (aka Steve Job's early scrutiny) in any way related or comparable to "9 products out of 10, even if a product was about to ship"?

    • by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Thursday January 17, 2013 @09:26PM (#42622227)

      The point is that it's better for worker morale if they know the products they're working will actually be produced, as opposed to getting axed down the road. If you kill it when it's still in the conceptualization stage, it doesn't matter.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by stenvar (2789879)

        Well, the morale of Apple workers is clearly generally great. And their products are pretty good, but you also pay for it. But that's no different from most other manufacturers of expensive luxury products, and that's what Apple effectively is.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          That's not what I've heard. Jobs had to park his car away from where the people working under him did, to avoid it being keyed every day by pissed of employees fed up with his attitude and angry rants at them.

          By all accounts he was not a nice guy to work for. He got results, but not by making is employees like him.

          • I don't think that's true. It was many years ago, but I recall seeing Steve's car parked at Apple, right along side all the other employee cars.

            I'm not sure, in a lot full of security cameras, you'd really want to key your CEO's car any way.

          • That's not what I've heard. Jobs had to park his car away from where the people working under him did, to avoid it being keyed every day by pissed of employees fed up with his attitude and angry rants at them.

            Yeah, because the employees where so overworked, they couldn't be bothered to drag themselves the few extra yards to Job's car to key it there :eyroll:

        • by mattack2 (1165421)

          And their products are pretty good, but you also pay for it. But that's no different from most other manufacturers of expensive luxury products, and that's what Apple effectively is.

          What other tablet computers that have (roughly) equivalent hardware are cheaper? Or were at the introduction of the iPad?

          Were other MP3 players as easy to use and fill with your own music (remember this was before the iTunes Music Store)? or just a bunch of random folders you had to drag items to that it might see?

      • by PPH (736903) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @10:29PM (#42622583)

        Another way of saying that is, "If your team meets the goals and commitments that you have made, then we (corporate) will commit to funding your project".

        I've worked for a few outfits that did this, and it works well. For those that didn't, it invariably was traced back to someone in management who had some conflicting side deal. Either they were marketing our technology to a competitor, who didn't want us building our own. Or in a few cases, some manager who was just taking stock options from the competition to kill projects.

        Philips (as an example) suffered from the former problem. They make quite a few chip sets and license their technology. I wouldn't be surprised if the VP of semiconductors called the head of an internally developed consumer product and said, "Kill it. The people who we sell chips to don't want our competition."

      • Yep. Not long ago, I got caught in a management change that resulted in a complete lack of actual production. The first week seemed great because we were going to finally put resources into projects that had been lingering for months or years. But the next week, all that got pushed out by a new set of projects that were all promised within a week. Too bad it was a month's worth of work. The next week, those projects were pushed aside by a new set of projects. Every damn week, there would be another mo

  • Philips would axe 9 projects out of 10, even if a particular product was about to ship.

    I also know a few bad organisations which can't seem to follow through on projects. They seem to get dumped for no reason at all.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 17, 2013 @09:34PM (#42622293)

    Modern business have degenerated from organizations to make and sell products/services to support systems for management employees, CEOs, and the financial/banking sector to whom they all report to. They are in the business of business for the sake of business. Modern companies honestly see making and selling products as a nuisance that gets in the way of their real goal, which is making sure management gets paid and the stock price stays inflated.

    OP's remark about 9/10 products being axed on a whim smells of the terrifying bureaucracy and labyrinthine organization that company must be. Microsoft has been rumored to be organized like a medieval kingdom with lords defending their territory with force, politics, and guile.

    Personally, I expect to see an enron-like collapse of any number of large companies in the near future. The cause? Routing loops. Eventually every last function and service will be subcontracted and outsourced. Nobody will be able to tell who makes what, and where anything comes from. Eventually someone will realize that they've attempted to subcontract a product to themselves.. Many times over, the trail going dead after too many iterative loops.

  • by Lexor (724874) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @09:35PM (#42622307) Homepage Journal
    The Odyssey Command Center (Odyssey 3) video game console was axed by Philips just as it was about to ship. It wasn't the strongest offering at the time but it offered backwards compatibility with Odyssey 2 games and was to be expandable with a modem and BASIC.

    I was saving my dollars and ready to buy but it was axed shortly after they promoted the hell out of it at the CES and Knoxville World's Fair. Jerks.
    • It did get released in Europe by Phillips as the Vidopac G7400 / G7401 (where the markets for the videopac games was stronger)

      A handful of Odyssey 3 prototypes still exist and are in the hands of collectors.

      • by JBMcB (73720)

        And it still had the awful membrane keyboard? Did it still have the fiddly quasi-analog yet directional joysticks?

  • Say what? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rueger (210566) * on Thursday January 17, 2013 @09:57PM (#42622449) Homepage
    ...Apple ships 99% of the products that pass certain internal milestones. By way of contrast ... Philips would axe 9 projects out of 10, even if a particular product was about to ship. ... "Nine times out of ten, or 99 times out of 100, they would kill the project, either at the beginning, the middle or right before the product was supposed to be shipped."

    OK, I ready I read TFA - is this incomprehensible? Does it mean anything? Is there any useful data anywhere in this?
    • by Nemyst (1383049) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @10:35PM (#42622605) Homepage

      There's an 80% chance that, 75% of the time, 44% of the data in TFA is 87% right, but only nine times out of ten.

      You didn't get that? Really?

      • Re:Say what? (Score:4, Informative)

        by socialleech (1696888) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @11:52PM (#42622899)
        I moderated this Funny, but felt a need to respond.

        If we accept your numbers as the correct numbers, and that anything outside those numbers is guaranteed to be wrong; we can then calculate the likelihood of any one piece of data in any TFA's posted to /. .

        For one piece of data, we have 1. We know that 20% of the time, it's going to outright fail. So, 0.8 chance, 1 being 100%. Of that amount, we know that 75% of the time, it will be right. So, 0.8 * 0.75 = 0.6.

        We also know that 44% of that 0.6 is possibly correct. So 0.6 * 0.44 = 0.264.

        We again know that 87% of that 0.264 is correct. 0.264 * 0.87 = 0.22968.

        But, only 9 times out of 10. 0.22968 * 0.9 = 0.206712.

        Now, we can state that for any given piece of data, on any TFA on /. there is a 20.6712% chance of it being correct.

        Which, oddly enough, doesn't sound that far off.
      • by sottitron (923868)
        Doesn't matter if anyone got it or not. What matters is that 0.01% of slashdotters RTFA before they post. Like me just now. I sure didn't!
  • Apple has what? 5-6 core products and 4-5 variations on the core products?

    They must not have very many ideas.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If you think about it, in order to reach 99%, he must have (at minimum) seen 99 projects with only 1 rejected.

      It's the lowest number to get 99% (99/100).

      I suppose each configuration counts, so 7 colors * 2 to 3 sizes * 5 products (phone, MP3 player small screen, MP3 big screen, MP no screen, tablet) is about 105.

      That said, it's pretty sad that he counts "red" as a project. LOL

    • by JBMcB (73720)

      You don't need a lot of ideas, just a few really good ones.

  • by sjwt (161428) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @11:21PM (#42622779)

    Apple ships 99% of its products because it makes so few... Phillips axes 9 in 10 because its trying to hit every thing and produces so much, even after axeing 9 in 10, it still would put out magnitudes more products than apple.

  • by jtara (133429) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @11:46PM (#42622883)

    Dunno if Sony still does this, but at one time it was not uncommon for them to have multiple teams working on the same concept without any knowledge of each other. Best one wins.

    I worked on an outsourced project (insourced? From Japan to U.S.) that was similar to WebTV, though it was meant for the Japanese market. (Dig that - product for the Japanese market designed - or at least implemented - in the U.S.) This was more than 10 years ago.

    Turns out there was a second team doing the same thing.

    Then they licensed WebTV and canned both of the other projects.

    Great fun watching Beavis and Butthead videos (Cornholio) at 2AM (on a Death March) with the "Sony spy", a junior engineer obstensively sent because he wrote the software for the front-panel processor.

  • All he meant to say was, "Apple picks its projects more carefully, and sticks to it longer and more of its projects result in shipped products compared to competition". But it does not sound like any great insight. So they added "pass internal milestones" and some percentages to sound more rigorous. But the addition of meaningless fluff made the whole statement stupid.

    It is definitely possible Apple was sticking to its project for longer than competition. Jobs was bull headed that way. He once re-laid

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite. -- Bertrand Russell, "Skeptical Essays", 1928

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