Sometimes what happens around Formula 1 is more interesting that the actual races. In case you haven’t followed last week’s Indian GP, there was a heated incident in the Lotus team. This happened later:
We bumped into Eric Boullier at the airport and could not stop ourselves saying: “Get out of the f@*king way!”, which raised a resigned smile from the Lotus team principal.
Via the always interesting Joe Saward.
[...] The brilliant sociologist and father of focus groups Robert K. Merton later lamented their misuse in replacing research:
“Even when the subjects are well selected, focus groups are supposed to be merely the source of ideas that need to be researched.”
Via Wired - How the ‘Failure’ Culture of Startups Is Killing Innovation. Go check it our, it’s a great article.
I finally spent some time processing the pictures I’ve taken during the last 2 months, since we moved to St Albans. Only 4 passed the pre-selection, but I’m quite happy with them. Hope you like them as well.
Pretty amazing footage of London in 1927, digitally coloured.
A pretty cool extension for Chrome, that allows you to view what media queries a website is using, quickly view the specific CSS code for a particular breakpoint, resize your browser and take screenshots of the whole page at a particular size. Great for testing and for documenting!
Check the video for the features or download the extension on the Chrome Store.
I found this quote from a war veteran on the Art of Manliness blog. Many businesspeople should print it in big letters and read it every day of their life. Maybe some will reject the greediness of the corporate world and start behaving like decent people.
“I still own my responsibility in the failure to bring him home. It may not have been my fault, but it was my responsibility. I was the leader and there was only one person to look to, when you, for everything that your men do or fail to do, and that’s the leader…That’s the right mentality to have, even though you may err on the side of carrying too much weight. Particularly as I’ve seen leadership as applied in, well, at least in my context in the business world, I think that the Marines get it right, and they got it right by teaching me from the get-go that hey, it is your job as a leader to accept responsibility, that’s what you do, particularly to accept responsibility for failure. And when you’re given these forty young men, we’re going to tell you your life is no longer about yourself, it’s about taking care of them and achieving your mission. That’s a, I realize now that that’s a rare philosophy, and that’s a rare leadership model. We say that life is not about you anymore. The minute you pin on the rank, and the minute you accept that paycheck, you accept responsibility and you accept a commitment to something greater than yourself. And I think that applies just as much now as it did then.”
Electronic Arts learned last week that when you ignore your user the consequences can be catastrophic. The anticipated SimCity launch was an utter disaster, with their DRM system preventing customers to play.
What happened is that the new EA title requires constant Internet connection to play. Is not enough to validate your copy when you install the game, Sim City is in constant communication with Origin’s DRM server to ensure your game is legal.
As a result customers that have paid £45 for the game were unable to play, sitting in interminable queues in front of their computers only to get error messages as Origin’s servers were overflowed with requests. Such was the outrage that even Amazon has stopped selling the game.
Some may say that this is a technical problem: basically the system wasn’t ready for the avalanche of excited gamers, and that soon the issue will be solved as new servers are put in place by EA.
I’m sure this storm will quickly go away. The game is apparently quite good so I expect people to show mercy once they can play. But for me this is not a technical issue, it’s conceptual. Is not about not having enough servers, is about ignoring your users.
And how’s this related with UX? For many the user experience field is confined to the creation of blueprints for digital products (websites, apps and similar). But in reality UX is about caring for every detail of a product, and here’s where EA has failed miserably with an insulting attitude. Let’s see why:
You don’t own the game, you’re only renting it
It’s not nice to spend £45 on a game only to find out that EA can decide at any time if I can play it or not. If sometime in the future EA decides that this version of Sim City is not profitable or wants to promote the next release of the saga, they only have to pull the plug and you won’t be able to play it again. A game you -in theory- own. Don’t be fooled, you’re not buying the game, you’re only paying for the right to play it -until EA decides you’ve had enough-.
EA decides how you can and can’t play the game
Do you have a 12 hours flight to Japan next week? Sounds like the perfect time to improve that city on your shiny new game, but there’s a problem: EA decided you can only play if you’re online.
No Internet connection = no game, so forget about playing on a plane, on the train, when Sky is down or whilst you’re moving houses and your Internet connection is not yet working.
They don’t care about you
EA only cares about your money, and they definitely want to amass as much as possible even if that means ignoring you, the guy who is paying it.
By ignoring their users and putting every imaginable barriers between them and their games EA is achieving quite the opposite: fomenting piracy. It’s like a DVD, filled with unskippable anti-piracy warnings and trailers. You vilify your customers whilst those who downloaded the film illegally can enjoy it without barriers. Not a clever move.
Don’t make things difficult for your customers
If you want people to buy your products, your name is not enough. You have to minimise the pain points and treat your customers in a fair way. If anything you’re doing goes against those that are paying your salary, maybe you should consider a change of direction or you may find yourself looking for a new job soon.
Lucy Mason and Pablo Tato go acoustic for UnAirEd. Find more about their music at her Facebook page.