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You don’t know what you do until you know what you don’t do

31 Jan

Raymond Chen is a wise old programmer from Microsoft. He’s been in the business a long time. This is an old post of his that I have brought up at Grooveshark several times, so I figured I should post a link to it here for handy reference.

You don’t know what you do until you know what you don’t do.

I’ve seen a lot of software projects, and one thing I’ve learned is that you don’t have a product until you start saying “No”.

In the early phases of product design, you’re all giddy with excitement. This new product will be so awesome. It will slice bread. It will solve world hunger. It’s designed for everybody, from the technology-averse grandmother who wants to see picture of her grandkids to the IT manager who is in charge of 10,000 computers. It’ll run equally well on a handheld device as in a data center.

When I see a product with an all-encompassing description like this, I say to myself, “They have no idea what their product is.” You don’t know what you do until you know what you don’t do. And the sooner you figure out what you don’t do the better, because a product that promises to do everything will never ship.

 
 

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