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Recently I attended Kickstart conference in Australia. Kickstart is an annual gathering of technology journalists from Australia and NZ regions. This is quite a unique conference format and I have not seen a similar gathering anywhere else in the world. The tech journalist community in ANZ region is relatively small and very closely knit. The format of the conference is also very interesting. Presenters get only 5-7 minutes to make their pitch and there are strict guidelines around what you are allowed to present. Pitching your company or pushing your products is a strict no-no. And the audience is one of the tougest audience to present to since they already know all the facts, figures and hot trends. Using buzz words is an instant turn off for this audience and they make it abundantly obvious in real time on the twitter-universe! Even then, this is one of my most favorite conferences to attend since it always challenges me to be at my best! Here I am sharing with you all a trascript of my presentation at this conference.


 

 

Kickstart 2013 Speech

Sunshine Coast, Australia. February 17th, 2013

Mandatory time limit for the Speech: 5-7 minutes

Audience: Tech Journalist from Australia/NZ Region

 

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This is my second time at Kickstart conference and am very happy to be here. I have a dual role at BMC Software. I am the CTO for the region and I also run the Incubation team globally for BMC Software. Because of these roles, I get the opportunity to meet with hundreds of CIOs around the world and it is my job to track the evolution of Enterprise IT. So what I am going to share with you in next five minutes is what I feel is the Past, present and future of Enterprise Service Management.

 

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If you look at where we have come from in last 10-15 years, we have made great progress. IT organizations in the past had no processes, no standardization, no virtualization, no automation. From there we have made significant progress towards using ITIL process frameworks and ITSM products. Most organizations around the world now enjoy the benefits of Virtualization and many of them have implemented Automation. This has resulted in great efficiencies in the way IT is run! It has been a great journey!

 

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I characterize the past as teething and growing up issues. If you consider that we are in 2013 and entering teen years, we have new sets of issues to deal with.

 

If you look at the present, Mobile devices in an enterprise are exploding. Some organizations now have more mobile devices that they have to support than the laptops and desktops that they have. Think of it, we all went from desktop to laptop. That shift was unique because we REPLACED desktops with laptops. However what we are seeing today is that we are ADDING more devices without retiring the old one. So now I have a laptop, an iPad and a smart phone! So I just went from one device to three devices. This becomes a massive challenge when you have thousands of employees to support.

 

Cost structures continue to be the challenge for IT. Despite all the efforts, keeping the lights on still constitutes about 2/3rd of the overall IT spend. So how do you support these new services with the 1/3rd of the budget?

 

Agility is another trend that the IT has to cope up with. This is a great example of something that has become very critical in last 4 years. Four years ago most of the focus was on efficiency and automation. And what it enables is Agility. Ability to take an idea, building an idea, deploying an idea and getting value out of that idea in a very short duration is what the market demands and IT needs to respond to it.

 

We all know that the amount of data is exploding. I believe it was only last year that the number of connected devices exceeded human population. All these connected devices are producing vast amounts of data. And this is causing explosion of data in an enterprise. And lastly cloud has raised the expectations of service delivery like never before.

 

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However even today, running an IT organization requires expert level knowledge. Think of it as a cockpit of an airplane, there are 100s of levers, buttons and controls to manage.

 

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While we acknowledge that it is complex to run an IT organization, think of the experience of the end user of IT. In all through the past and present journey of IT, the end user, the actual consumer of IT services has been largely ignored!

 

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And this is more important NOW than ever before. WHY? Because while IT was ignoring the end user experience, the end user expectations have changed dramatically. We at the Office of the CTO have been observing this change very closely and it is amazing how much shift that has happened in last 3-5 years in terms of user expectations. Today the user has a much better IT experience at home than at work. This is a FUNDAMENTAL shift and is going to drive lot of expectations from Enterprise IT in the coming year.

 

Just like my kids, anyone who is born on/after 2007 is known as the smart phone generation. 2007 is when the first iPhone was released and it revolutionized the smart phone adoption and since then the world has not looked back. Smart phone generation is growing up with completely different expectations than what we have today!

 

Also the collaboration platforms that we have gotten all used to in our personal lives, whether it is facebook, twitter or whatsapp is raising expectations. Employees are coming into enterprise environment and asking why can’t they connect with their peers, partners and even customers the same way they can in their personal lives.

 

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I am sure many of you will associate with this picture where at some point of time we all felt that we can be more productive by smuggling in our own device to work! J BYOD, bring your own device is well known now. But it does not stop there, it is bring your own applications and bring your own identity in the corporate or enterprise IT world. Today, I have a facebook identitiy, a twitter identity, a linked in persona and a corporate identity. I need all these identities to co-exist and accessible from work! While all of us would like to have the freedom of choosing the device we want, do you know what the CIOs think of BYOD? They call it Bring Your Own Disaster or Bring Your Organization Down! They have their own concerns of BYOD.

 

You must have heard the term Shadow IT, which is when users circumvent IT policies and process in order to get their work done. We have seen this with our customers where people started procuring servers using their credit cards on public clouds because their internal IT was too slow to respond. That is shadow IT. But IT Friction is also on the rise. IT Friction is when users feel that they are not getting the services they need from their IT department and hampering down their productivity. According to the analysts, IT Friction is causing as much as 20% loss of productivity!

 

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So how should IT of tomorrow work?

  • IT needs to provide their users with the self service experience they desire from anywhere, anytime.
  • Expectations from IT is such that it will be able to deliver new applications faster than ever before.
  • And IT cannot get constrained by physical limitations of size, location. They should be able to flex their resources beyond their four walls.

 

This is what we call the transformation of front end and back end of IT.

 

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So here is my prediction for the coming years. In order to survive and thrive, IT organizations need to become easy to operate, easy to use for the IT operators. For the end users, they need to become almost invisible and sort of magical! This is what we call MyIT, which we are bringing to the market in coming months. In the coming year, we at BMC Software are going to lead this transformation of the back end and front end of IT. And I look forward to your support! Thank you very much!

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Not keeping up with it has not stopped anyone from making new year’s resolutions! Similarly fear of failing is not going to stop me from making new year predictions! :) So here are my predictions for the new year,


Suhas’ IT Predictions for 2013 (and beyond)

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More Focus on Driving Business through Innovation

Until now enterprise IT has been busy making itself more relevant to business. This is why we would always see “better align IT with the business” listed as one of the top five goals in CIO surveys. 2013 will be the year where IT will have to step up from worrying about better alignment with the business and move on to driving more business through innovation. The role of Chief Information Officer needs to evolve into Chief Innovation Officer, a role that will prove very strategic for taking organizations to the next level. Successful CIOs will make this transition and use analytics to map future needs of the business.

 

IT Becomes Invisible and Magical

Running an IT organization today is in many ways like flying an aircraft. There are hundreds of controls and levers and it requires specialized knowledge and expertise. However, passengers that are flying in that plane want a very  simple, on demand, rich user interface to the services they desire. Most planes today have mastered the on-demand experience for the passengers but the pilots still deal with a complex cockpit. Wouldn’t IT be nice if the cockpit also evolves into a dashboard of a modern car? That way IT administrators are not having to look at hundreds of controls and are able to run IT with minimal effort. At the same time, we want to make the overall experience for the end users so seamless that they don’t even realize that there is an IT organization behind everything that they are consuming. This is what I call invisible IT, where for the end user, IT is almost not there because things just seem to work like magic. And for the IT professional, IT is simplified and easier to run! So my prediction, if you look beyond 2013, is that in next 10 years most IT departments as we know of them will not exist. They will become so good that they will become invisible and almost magical!

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(Following article was published in CIO Asia on July 9, 2012, http://www.cio-asia.com/resource/guest-blogs/guest-blog-the-innovative-role-of-the-asia-pacific-cio/)

 

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According to the Chinese calendar, 2012 is the Year of the Dragon. The dragon is said to be a deliverer of good fortune and a master of authority. However, in Chinese astrology, the dragon is the only animal of the Chinese zodiac year that is not real.

 

Roughly 20 years ago, the CIO role, like the dragon, did not exist. Yet the CIO role today in the Asia-Pacific region has evolved to become more strategic and critical to the business than ever before in meeting the demands of this dynamic region.

 

Asia Pacific has the fastest-growing economy in the world, with a tremendous potential of untapped domestic markets made up of a rising middle class. Based on some estimates, more than 60 percent of the global population resides in this region.

 

While IT spending in most of the world has remained flat, Asia Pacific enterprise IT spending continues to grow, with 8 percent growth expected in 2012. According to one recent analyst report, Asia Pacific was the fastest-growing region for server shipments during the fourth quarter of 2011.

 

It is also a region composed of many countries with different levels of IT maturity and different levels of compliance and governance laws and regulations.

 

Based on my discussions with CIOs in Asia Pacific, I've learned that even with all this diversity, CIOs from the region have remarkably similar priorities.

 

The CIO as business leader
Many of the CIOs I've met have put a significant focus on the role of the next-generation CIO. After all, this is something very close to their hearts because it shapes their own destinies. The sentiment is that the CIO role needs to be a Tier-1 management function and that the CIO should own the business targets and deserves a seat at the strategy table.

 

Interestingly, they are unanimous in saying that CIO role needs to become less technical and more business oriented. This in particular is a very interesting shift, especially since one of the reasons the CIO role was created 20 years ago was to have a dedicated person to handle increasingly complex technologies. One comment that I heard really struck a chord with me, that the I in CIO stands for "innovation."

 

What's on the minds of CIOs?
The CIOs I have engaged with have told me that making progress with tight IT budgets is not their top concern. This was, in a way, refreshing to learn when compared to what we hear in the news from around the world every day about shrinking budgets.

 

As it turns out, the top worry for them was how to keep pace with the growth of their respective businesses. Their focus clearly was on growing the top line rather than on optimising costs.

 

Based on my other observations and discussions with Asia Pacific CIOs, I have also discovered that they were very interested in discussing how they could influence and lead their initiatives globally.

 

For example, the CIO of a large life insurance division based in Hong Kong said that his organisation successfully ran various cloud initiatives locally at first and then was able to drive those globally. It is no longer the norm for decisions to be made elsewhere and then implemented in Asia Pacific.

 

Interacting with many CIOs from this dynamic region has been enlightening. They are very passionate about their role and are looking forward to moving up the chain of responsibility.

 

Just as people born in Dragon years are to be honoured and respected, could this be the year for Asia Pacific CIOs to make a large impact globally?

 

Will Asia Pacific CIOs demonstrate Dragon-like leadership that delivers good fortune and functions as a master of authority this year? I surely hope so!

Suhas Kelkar

Kiva Robots

Posted by Suhas Kelkar Mar 20, 2012
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I have a special passion for the field of robotics. As a graduate research student, I had the privilege of doing my master's thesis at the Center of Intelligent Machines and Robotics (CIMAR) lab at the University of Florida. These days, I don't get to do much hands on work on Robotics but my passion for it is still as strong!

 

Here is an example of applied Robotics that is so simple to understand yet so powerful when you think of it. No wonder the new age retailing giant Amazon has scooped them up for such a high price. Is this the beginning of the commercialization of micro robots? It is a no brainer that Amazon would use it extensively to streamline their own supply chain warehouse systems. However it would be interesting to see how Jeff Bezos combines this with AWS and the new age research they are doing there.

 

Do watch these amazing, simple Kiva Robots in action in a warehouse. Amazon just bought Kiva for $ 775 Million. http://www.businessinsider.com/here-are-the-amazing-kiva-robots-that-amazon-just-bought-for-775-million-2012-3

 

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There are many helpful websites, blogs, books and articles available that teach you how to make good presentations. However I thought I should share my own personal methodology with you,

 

Recently (February 2012) I had an opportunity to present at KickStart 2012 conference in Gold Coast, Australia. The audience was unusual, all media professionals from Australian media. Let me tell you something about these folks, they are intelligent, well read, direct/blunt and extremely impatient. So here is the process I used to go about making a presentation (which went very well) to them.

 

  1. First thing was that I started writing a document, an outline for my speech. I used this working document to get feedback from our PR agency and our marketing department. This ensured that we identify the right high level messages that we want to put forth the audience. Later on this document also served as my entire speech! I have attached the final version of this document to this blog entry. You can see my actual presentation below and follow along this document to see how much context I was speaking for each of the bullets/images in my presentation. In fact even the document is not entirely complete and I was making some on  the fly remarks too.
  2. I also started putting together a "mind map". Mind map technique helps you to visualize your entire message, the start, the middle and the ending. Usually the mistake I have seen people make is that they start putting together a powerpoint. When you do that, your slides tend to contain too much text. Try the mind map approach and you will realize that you will end up with just key terms. Then you can convert the key terms to attractive graphics as described in step 3 below!
  3. Know your audience. In this case I knew that the journalists are a well read audience. Te usual numbers and statistics that people throw into their presentations (e.g. 1.8 Zettabytes of storage or 750 million active facebook users) were all cliche to them. So first thing I did was to remove them from my presentation. Secondly, I found out that all journalists were twitting and making comments on presentations. So I started tapping into it to see what they were complaining about. I learned quite a lot based on these tweets. Call it my own way of doing real-time sentiment analysis.
  4. I knew that their attention span to text would be very low. So in order to make a point I used some very attractive images. e.g. Instead of a boring text that says Enterprise Data is increasing, I used following image
  5. HeavyLoadsAlainDelorme1.jpg
  6. My total presentation time was 5-7 minutes and the time limit was strictly followed. In order to make sure I can finish it in specified time, so I used the document started in step 1 above to morph it into a complete written script. Then I used it to practice in front of mirror, then in front of internal audience (Thanks Lynn and Rudolf!) and then AGAIN in front of the mirror. I finally had my timing nailed down to 5 minute 45 seconds! Remember the famous quote by Mark Twain, "It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech". So you can never have too much preparation.
  7. Lastly choose a presentation tool that you are comfortable with. Whether it is powerpoint or prezi, make every effort to use right fonts and right graphics. I personally prefer prezi because it forces you to think in terms of a mind map which is my favorite practice.

 

Here is the final outcome of my presentation (http://prezi.com/itmo0szqtkde/kickstart-2012-it-management-short-version/)

 

 

 

And here is a great TED Presentation that goes into much more details of how to do a really good presentation by Nancy Duarte. http://youtu.be/1nYFpuc2Umk


 

 

 

If you find this blog post useful, please comment and let me know. This will encourage me to write more such posts in future.

 

Thanks,

Suhas A. Kelkar

CTO (APAC), Senior Director (Incubator Team)

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Here is an example of thinking with the box(es). This fascinating Japanese microhome is built from a series of steel boxes that are stacked like bricks and extended through the interior to provide endless shelving. You can read the full story here. Reason I like this house so much is that every time you are inside this house you would be thinking out of a box!

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Think creatively. Come up with new ideas. Something no one has thought about yet.…Right! And how exactly am I supposed to do that? I mean – I can be creative, I always come up with great ideas. Only two small problems –

 

  1. The great ideas seem to be in control here – they come to me and not the other way around, and
  2. It usually happens when I’m in the shower.

 

Now, since I live in Israel and we have a major water resources problem, I cannot really be both creative and environmental friendly at the same time! 

 

Fortunately, others were creative enough to come up with different systems and techniques to formulate creativity…

 

 

 

In 1946, Genrich Altshuller, a Russian engineer and researcher thought of a new approach to creativity – He decided to focus not on what makes inventive solutions different, but on what, if anything, they might have in common. It's an idea that may seem paradoxical: for isn't the most notable thing about inventive solutions how uncommon they seem, how unique and original? Nonetheless, this exhaustive study (over 200,000 patents reviewed) revealed that inventive solutions share common patterns.

 

 

 

That research and others which followed, formed an entire field of “thinking techniques” for innovative thinking, one of which is called SIT – Systematic Inventive Thinking (originated in Israel). The main idea behind SIT is to think within the box – start with an existing product, and by applying a set of tools that will control and direct our creative thinking, come up with innovative products. Simple, right? …No? Oh, ok – maybe an example would help.

 

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One SIT tool is called subtraction – let’s take a product, remove some key feature from it, and see if we can come up with a new product suitable for a different need, a different market, etc. Sounds strange, right? I mean – adding features is the intuitive way to improve a product, but removing something would only make the product less attractive…

 

 

 

So think of bicycles without their main feature… without wheels. Can a product like that make sense? Can you think of any use for it? How about exercise bikes!! A new product, for different needs (exercising and not commuting), targeted at a completely different audience.

 

 

 

How about a television set? What is a main feature we can subtract? How about the screen itself, the moving image? There is a whole community of blind people who are buying TVs for listening only. Maybe we can create a far cheaper product for them. How about listening to TV while driving your car? Or creating a PC-TV…

 

SIT contains other tools that can be implemented (Division, Task Unification, etc.) and some principals for overcoming mental obstacles to innovative thinking (more at http://www.sitsite.com/app/methodGeneral.asp).

 

Other systematic thinking techniques are out there, some specific to an industry or field (e.g. engineering), some more generic. I plan to discuss another “creativity-system” in a future post, but don’t wait for me – go explore... I encourage you to look at this seriously – you already learned plenty for giving it a try, so go ahead – be creative!!

 

(This post was contributed by Nir Orlev who is a member of the BMC Incubator Team and is based out of Tel Aviv)

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I recently came across this wonderful presentation by Don Norman. (Click here to see the video) Below are my notes from the video!

 

Don Norman presents some insightful thoughts on building software products using real world examples. He starts with saying that different people look at the world in different ways. This is one of the reasons why when given a choice between up button or a down button on a remote without labels, some people will choose up and some will choose down. He also talks about how the world of software products is changing with the introduction of gestures, shakes, multi-touch etc.

 

Here are ten rules for successful products,

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  1. It's All About The Experience: Don gives real world examples of how an experience can make a lasting impression.
  2. Design Systems: Using iPod as an example he explains how the complexity of the system remained same but made iPod a hugely successful customer gadget.
  3. Everything is a Service: This is an extremely interesting and relevant point! Don gives an example of an ATM machine. ATM machine to the manufacturer of that machine or to the buyer of that machine (bank) is a product. However for the end consumer it provides a service. So he argues that everything is a service and everything is a product! He goes on to explain how services can be recursive.
  4. Everything is a Product.
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  6. Don't Be Too Logical. Logic is not the way people think, it is an artificial form of thinking! Cognition versus Emotions are the two ways we process information. Emotions win over logic as it comes first and engineers build products with too much logic. Value the emotions, emotions are about value systems. He gives an example of Disney as a company that manages customer's emotions. Very interesting example here about lines! (23:37 minutes into the presentation)
  7. Memory is more important than Actuality. Here Don argues that memory is the long lasting element.
  8. Complexity is Good, Complicated is Bad
  9. Design for the Real World. Notice this real world picture that Don took from his office where the flags are flying in opposite directions! Thats what he calls real world. And we must design systems that are geared for the real world!
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  11. Design for People. This is the most intriguing rule. (41:00 minutes into the presentation) Here Don argues that people tend to work best in small groups. Anytime the group becomes larger than 20 people (typical start up company size) there is added complexity of managing teams of people! He goes on to give great real world examples on it.
  12. It's All About The Experience: Experience is so important that this rule is here twice!

 

All in all this presentation is a MUST watch for everyone. You will not only learn a LOT from it but the way Don delivers it, you will surely enjoy it.

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Welcome to “All Ideas Considered”. Intriguing thing about innovation is that you can always learn some valuable lessons from innovative ideas regardless of their domain of applicability. This is one of the reasons why I chose to call my blog “all ideas considered”!

 

Today, I am going to showcase a fabulous innovation that has nothing to do with IT or software domain. However we can still take a valuable lesson from it.

 

 

Take a look at an award winning invention called the ACCEPTOR. This invention addresses a simple problem of making the experience of getting injected less traumatic. What the team at No Formulae realized was that “Perceived pain is larger than actual pain” meaning anticipation of getting an injection was sometimes more than actual pain of receiving one. They looked at their target customers (kids) and wanted to make the experience a bit more fun. They argued what if the injection did not look like an injection but instead it looked more like a toy, a toy that the kid can get after he or she receives the shot! That is how ACCEPTOR idea was born.

 

 

Reason I find this innovation very valuable is the fact that it directly addresses a customer problem. When innovation happens with the customer pain point in focus, then you are guaranteed to create something valuable. Also this innovation changes the customer experience in a very simple and elegant way. Innovation when solving direct customer needs and is enhancing overall user experience is destined for success! This is the same philosophy that we try to use in the Incubator group and it is certainly showing results!

 

Here are some images of the invention referred above,

 

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"Perceived Pain Is Greater Than The Actual Pain. So for a regular syringe to be less daunting, we had to change it's look" -Bhavna Bhahri

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Welcome to "All Ideas Considered".

 

Recently came across a wonderful presentation on product design by Peter Merholz of Adaptive Path. (Here is a link to it)

ExperienceIsTheProduct.jpg

 

Here are my notes from the presentation. These points would be much clearer if you see the presentation first where Peter gives some very interesting examples to support it.

 

 

  • Don’t focus on technology or features. Focus on the experience that you want to create and then build a system that gets you there
  • Technology as a product design strategy can be used only when the technology is disruptively new! e.g. First generation word processors were very difficult to use. You needed to remember many commands in order to work with it effectively. But because they were technologically far superior than the alternative “type writer” of that era, they became popular.
  • Once technology becomes standard, we tend to compete on features. And there are numerous examples where competing on features has been taken to the extreme. One such example is Microsoft WORD. A very good example of this phenomenon is VCR. When VCRs first came out, for the first time they allowed people to record live TV. This made them very popular. As years passed by VCR got bloated with features. So much so that people could not even program it anymore. So adding more and more features actually caused the decline in VCR usage. (Then came TiVo that once again revolutionized ease of use when it came to recording TV programs!)

 

Some takeaways from the presentation,

 

 

  1. Designing from outside in…Christopher Alexander says, to design pathways first put the lawn in place, then see where people actually walk and then add paving!
  2. Create an “experience vision” statement. E.g. Palm Pilot vision was, Fits in shirt pocket, Syncs seamlessly with PC, Fast & easy to use and cost less than $299. Concise and clear vision that made Palm design a compelling one.
  3. Leverage the System! This one is my most favorite! System as a whole does not get simpler however the experience of using the module of the system become much more enjoyable. e.g. iPod only allows you to do basic things like browse, play, rate audio songs. For everything else such as creating actual playlists you have to use iTunes. Thus Apple simply leveraged the system to remove unnecessary complexity from the everyday use of the product, iPod and the rest is history!

 

 

Reason I find this presentation very interesting is the fact that it promotes the customer (User) first mentality. When you use this mentality in product design and product innovation you are most likely to produce something beautiful.

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Welcome to "All Ideas Considered". This is the place where you will find most interesting ideas on innovation. I promise to keep it interesting....

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