Fwd: Snivelling about capitalism... was Primary interface

26 Oct 2006 - 2:12pm
7 years ago
1 reply
649 reads
Antonella Pavese
2006

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Antonella Pavese <antonella.pavese at gmail.com>
Date: Oct 26, 2006 3:11 PM
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Snivelling about capitalism... was Primary interface
To: "jackbellis. com" <jackbellis at hotmail.com>

In addition to profit, there are few other tenets in Capitalism, Jack,
such as competition and market economy. Except for the rare cases in
which a company is the only provider of a service or product, spitting
in the face of the people who pay for your services and products is
not the wisest thing to do in the long run.

I agree with you the we always need to make the business case for
customer satisfaction (except for a few companies that have made
customer happiness their cultural foundation). And that there are
other things in addition to usability and satisfaction that determine
customers' cost-benefit analysis and make them decide whether to adopt
a service or buy a product.

But if you worked for a company that routinely made its customer
unhappy, wouldn't you start to worry about your future?

On 10/26/06, jackbellis.com <jackbellis at hotmail.com> wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
> I can't take it anymore. I've tried to be politically correct, but I'm
> incapable. I'm relableling this thread to what people really want to talk
> about, "Snivelling about capitalism..." and automation.
>
> Why is everyone so offended that companies do everything they do to make
> money?
>
> Businesses, with rare exceptions like Ben & Jerry's (who already have enough
> money), ONLY want to maximize profits. (Before B&J got enough money to be
> altruistic, I'll bet that was their top priority, too.) And contary to a
> prior statement, I don't think companies genuinely care about maximizing
> shareholder value; that is just a quarterly threat; they will constantly
> screw shareholders given the chance to keep the money.
>
> Along the way, businesses offend people, alienate people, steal their money,
> build bad interfaces, displace workers, disrupt lives, and learn how much
> focus on short-term goals is too much. When they reach the breaking point,
> they will among other concessions, make friendlier interfaces. It's called
> capitalism. The alternative, Jeffrey Skilling notwithstanding, seems to be
> Vladimir Putin.
>
> Any pretense that ACMs are for customer convenience or any other customer
> value is silliness. Might companies believe that this particular business
> tool ultimately returns customer value (for any number of reasons, such as
> staying in business)? Certainly, but that's not what's going on.
>
> -Jack
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Gordon, Richard E." <RICHARD.E.GORDON at saic.com>
>
>
> > In a very small academic study of a grocery store self-checkout I was
> > part of several years ago, we found that they actually took longer on
> > average and required much more effort on the part of the user. It is
> > funny how we can be led to believe that doing the work ourselves is
> > somehow more "convenient".
>
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--
Antonella Pavese
-----------------------------------------
antonella.pavese at gmail.com
http://www.antonellapavese.com/

--
Antonella Pavese
-----------------------------------------
antonella.pavese at gmail.com
http://www.antonellapavese.com/

Comments

26 Oct 2006 - 3:15pm
Dave Chiu
2006

I have to agree with Antonella. Since when is NOT providing good service
part of a company's value proposition?

A company with poor service will quickly be eaten alive by companies that
do. This reality is perhaps better experienced in traditionally
service-oriented businesses like hotels and restaurants, but it's
relevant across all businesses (albeit perhaps at a slower pace).

> And contary to a prior statement, I don't think companies genuinely care about maximizing
> shareholder value; that is just a quarterly threat; they will constantly screw shareholders
> given the chance to keep the money.

Just a quick point: Companies are legally compelled to maximize
shareholder value. Not doing so would mean that company executives are
in breach of fiduciary duty. Whether there is any accountability is
definitely open to question, but the rules are pretty clear.

> Any pretense that ACMs are for customer convenience or any other customer value is
> silliness.

By implication, then, the designers involved in producing said ACMs are
just as culpable in this charade.

While this may be "reality", I personally have misgivings about
involving myself in such a charade. I've said this before on other
mailing lists: Doctors have the hippocratic oath
(http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/doctors/oath_modern.html); why don't
designers have something similar?

Responses typically revolve around "it's all about business and money"
or "designers are at the mercy of business", which I find kind of
strange, considering the designer's role as the link between customers
and core business—the laws of supply and demand would seem to mandate
designers having some say in business decisions.

Or put another way: as a recent graduate of design school, am I looking
forward to a life of mindless servitude to big business and the almighty
dollar? Or were at least some of the lessons I learned in grad school
relevant and applicable to the real world? (You know, all that fancy
talk about user-centered design and suchlike.)

Dave Chiu

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