50 years ago, having a car that didn't breakdown as much as the next guy gave a manufacturer an edge.
Would you expect anything less today? No. Products need to work, they need to be easy to understand, and they need to be reliable. You need to be reliable. 24/7.
This doesn't change when entering the realm of software design. Meeting these requirements is not optional, it is expected. I'd say rise up to meet them, but it's almost like telling a runner they need to move their legs in order to participate. They are self-evident.
With me so far? Good. You've got your product working and you are prepared to help users 24/7, now what?
Focus on being irresistible. Craft a story for users to engage with, be fun, be authentic, courageous, and create as much opportunity as possible for your users to be head-over-heels for you. Specifically, head-over-heels for YOU and subsequently, your product.
If you want your software to exceed expectations, build an awesome brand.
One of my favorite stories about Apple (one that is actually applicable to building out a brand) is how Steve Jobs came up with the idea for Apple store layouts.
Think about a traditional computer store, or any store for that matter, what do you see? Boxes, boxes, and boxes. Boxes on shelves, boxes on the floor, boxes everywhere. In short, the place is packed with product and no matter how neatly arranged and organized, it treats products like cattle for slaughter.
True to his rebellious nature, this concept didn't sit well with Jobs so he sought out inspiration. But he didn't look at other stores, he looked at museums. Museums that house priceless works of art and marvels of nature like dinosaur fossils. These items are treated with so much respect and given ample space to let viewers bask in their presence. You feel awestruck staring at them.
Now think about an Apple store. There is one variant of every product they have placed on single metal stand for a shopper to interact with. There is minimal product storage happening in the consumer facing end of the store. Apple treats their products like the works of art seen in museums and it makes them special.
When applying this to brand identity, it opens up the door for magic. Where can you find a name that starts a story? Where can you find a symbol to represent your company? In whom can you find a personality to best characterize your brand? Where can you find patterns and imagery to reflect who you are? Lastly, how can you mix it all together to become something novel?
This applies to everything. From experience design, brand naming, visual identity, collateral, packaging, whatever. Seeking and stealing creates magic.
Without a genuine and honest view of ourselves and our visions, we cannot expect to move forward.
Our culture abhors imperfection. We alter beautiful people in photoshop to achieve god-like standards. We post pictures of our significant other during our vacation to Fiji on Instagram, but neglect the brokenness of the relationship. We lie to preserve a false sense of perfection.
Fuck that and damn it to hell.
That is not the path of rebellion. That is conformity. That is a fearful shell of what could be and shifts one's focus to what others might think instead of what one can do.
/ˈfôrTHˌrīt/ direct and outspoken; straightforward and honest.
Being forthright doesn't beat around the bush. It means stating simply whether something is good or bad. Yes and no, not maybe. Being forthright demands that you speak up and stake a claim.
This is most important when looking inward. A rebel must be honest with herself if any improvement is to be made. It is honesty that allows her to notice what could be better and act upon it earnestly. Even on a grander scale, it allows her to examine the impact of her vision and whether or not it is truly valuable to the world.
A rebel must be forthright.