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"If the race starts at X, I'll win"

13 Post author: cousin_it 24 March 2011 05:04PM

I just found a brilliant metaphor in an article about programmers vs designers, here's the relevant quote:

...a mistake we sometimes make as UX Designers is that we believe, if the race starts at wireframing, we will win.

This looks like a new and unflattering lens through which to view my self-image. If I have good math skills but poor understanding of customers, then I'm smugly confident about winning "if the race starts at rigorous problem formulation". But of course the universe isn't so obliging, and the race always starts before you'd hoped it would! If you feel blocked today, can it be because you're an expert at some task but poor at its natural complementary tasks?

Comments (2)

Comment author: XFrequentist 24 March 2011 10:17:01PM 0 points [-]

Neat observation.

Could you clarify the relevance of the second link? I skimmed the article but it wasn't obvious to me what it was meant to impart.

Comment author: cousin_it 24 March 2011 11:09:05PM *  0 points [-]

I included it to explain the idea of complementarity. It also has some sentimental value, I guess, because long ago I learned that idea from that article.

The larger point I wanted to make: success requires more than just being good at your specialized skill. Well, if someone's good enough to build a new platform, create a killer app for it, and bring it all to market, then more power to that person! The rest of us need to be conscious about what other skillsets are required to make our own skillset useful to anybody. Good examples to keep in mind are Apple II + Visicalc and Xbox + Halo.