Re: Re[2]: Tech Writing Future & Pen-based computing

Subject: Re: Re[2]: Tech Writing Future & Pen-based computing
From: "Doug, Data Librarian at Ext 4225" <engstromdd -at- PHIBRED -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 1994 12:34:27 -0600

This is written in response to:

Gwen Barnes said, on the topic of pen-based computers:

>...The whole idea because ludicrous, however, when some corp.exec type
>wants to sit in his office and use a pen computer to write memos in
>longhand. I suppose we could develop technology to do that in time, and
>with sufficient investment of funds, but why bother?

[Erik Harris chimes in]
I quite agree. The two applications--"direct data entry in the field
without later duplication of effort" and "CEO doesn't want to type a memo"
speak for their own usefulness, or anyway, one speaks and the other

OK, I can't let this go any longer. Yes, the customer is wrongheaded, the
customer is stupid, the customer doesn't understand the technology, the
customer is willfully ignorant, the to to keep the
lights on and the checks coming.

Look folks, quality is what the customer thinks it is. A perceived, but
unmet need constitutes a threat (when related to our products) and an
opportunity (when related to somebody else's product or an existing
system). What the customer wishes to do is never unimportant, or dumb, or

Now, it may be that what the customer wants costs too much at the moment,
or is beyond the current technology, or just isn't as urgent as the needs
of other customers. But don't assume that the want, (and the resulting
opportunity and threat) will go away just because we, the techno-gods,
have deemed it "unimportant."

We high-tech folk have been insulated from the need to provide real
customer service by years of rapid technical change; we could always
assume that improvements in the underlying technology would create more
dramatic improvements faster than service orientation and incrimental
tuning. So far, that has been true. But, our day is coming. Like
Detroit in the 70's, we may wake up one day to discover the needs that we
sneered at now constitute a fast-growing market served by someone else.

Doug "Women are designed for long,
ENGSTROMDD -at- phibred -dot- com miserable lives, whereas men are
designed for short, violent ones."
- Estelle Ramey

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