The humble approach to product design

Giff Constable innovation, lean

Great quote on the creation of gmail:

Buchheit later called Gmail’s development process “the humble approach to product design.” “What’s the right attitude? Humility,” he wrote on his blog. “It doesn’t matter how smart and successful and qualified you are, you simply don’t know what you’re doing. The good news is that nobody else does, either, though some are foolish enough to think that they do (and that’s why you can beat them). . . . “Pay attention. Notice which things are working and which aren’t. Experiment and iterate. Question your assumptions. Remember that you are wrong about a lot of things. Watch for the signals. Lose your technical and design snobbery. Whatever works, works . . . you should consider spending less time talking, and more time prototyping.”

from The 20% Doctrine, by Ryan Tate

I’ve talked to VCs who believe they do better when they back the cocky, ruthless, reality-distorting founder, but I personally believe that humility is an essential component to creating a great new product or service. Not the only component, for sure, but very valuable.