Horace Dediu on the iteration and “small wins” that drive a consumer product. Sometimes the big sweeping visions do actually foresee the future, but to do it in a way that wins, you have to be doing a new, useful job for your customers. It calls to mind Steve Jobs telling the shocking story of Apple building the iPad first – and the redirection to making it smaller so it could be a phone. The phone was the more accessible consumer product. After the iPhone had laid the groundwork, the iPad could drift off of all that knowledge and win in its own right. This is why the iPad succeeded where so many other tablet computers had completely failed.
It also underscores two strong forces in customer-facing products: first doesn’t always (perhaps even rarely) win and there is such benefit in small successive iteration towards a goal of making things better for real people.