Connecting the Dots

At Pinnacle, our day to day is focused on delivering innovative solutions to customers’ pains by creating bespoke software for them to use internally, or for them to commercialise themselves. But our role expands beyond the creation, to also encompass the art of tempering and advising. Some ideas are born out of necessity, whereas others stem from a desire to see something done better, a vision of a finished product. Our role in this process is to ensure that our customers’ products evolve with the times.

Over the course of my time working at Apple, I participated in just shy of 2000 so-called Daily Downloads. Half an hour of everyone’s schedule dedicated to sharing the key message of the day. This could have been a new initiative, an update on key metrics being driven that week, or simply an inspirational message aimed at galvanising the troops for a challenging day ahead. I had my fair share of TED talks, Keynotes and YouTube videos, but one that sticks in my mind is the commencement speech that Steve Jobs gave to Princeton graduates in June 2005.

The message was simple and effective. “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” Trust that the road you take, every decision you make, every hurdle you overcome will help you reach a destination a better person.

So why is this message so important? Professionally speaking a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a dot on the journey to full delivery of a software, or hardware, platform. Technology progresses, people’s attitudes towards technology changes, as such it is important to have a look in the rear-view mirror to get an appreciation of where we are at today.

Let’s take the iPhone as a stand out example of this. When the device first launched 11 years ago, Apple gave the world a device that many people scoffed at. The reaction to a lack of physical keyboard or 3G were banded about as examples of how the iPhone would fail. But as iteration after iteration of the iPhone came to light, more and more features were launched on its platform. They haven’t always been the first, but they have always been systemic in their desire to only release something they deemed great. The fact that Apple chooses not to do things, is just as defining as what they do choose to do.

Now, it would definitely be wrong to say that their results have always been infallible. Apple Maps had a bumpy start, a terrible oversight which led to the downfall of some. However, what isn’t well known was the internal reaction and the endeavours that went on behind the scenes to address the issues. In order to verify the data that was being tapped into by the Maps app, every single Retail Store in the world dedicated a percentage of its staff to reviewing the content, on a local basis, in order to address the glaring issues at hand. Small teams of 6 or so would update the Maps with accurate data and verify people’s feedback. It’s important to realise that if something does go wrong, that extraordinary measures can renew faith in the product. I for one exclusively use Apple Maps now. The iterative features added in with Siri integration, CarPlay and the Apple Watch taptic feedback when walking around town, have all made for an experience that I personally find unrivalled.

The above examples are exactly the process behind the iterative design of the work that we create. We aim to get the right solution to a client’s problem generated as effectively as possible and into their hands as soon as possible. Let’s not dive into delivering an iPhone 8 when the first stage is making sure they can simply make calls; the original iPhone. We then build upon it, adding and amending its features that we feel will work for them, often educating them about the benefits. Do you recall the backlash with the launch of the Lightning Port? A technology that was at the time 9 years old and a major hurdle in the vision of slimming down their products (not counting the benefit of not having to think which way you plug it in!). And if things don’t go to plan, acknowledge the customer’s trepidation, but reassure them that you have the right team surrounding you to resolve any unforeseen complications.

If you, like so many of our clients, have an idea that you want to flesh out and bring to life or a problem that is hindering productivity or growth and are interested in discovering more about our approach and skills, don’t hesitate to give us a call and we would be delighted to have a chat.