Usability? Check. Now try another hat...

Bill Gates' mail about his frustration with unfriendly MS usability.

Often we assume many things about our own software - and while the above piece is more of a "Even Gates cannot stand MS software" one, it does highlight how easily software often ends up as a frustrating, non-intuitive piece of technology for the end user. The small things really really count, and developers need to keep putting themselves is users' shoes time and again to test with as little bias as possible. Or better still, ask someone who's not really been associated with the product to try it out.

The "separation", from my limited experience with startup life, is extremely tough to achieve. People play multiple roles, and the lines keep getting blurred, and what suffers is how the code develops, is tested, and very importantly, deployed. The little things one did as part of the larger behemoths - build-environment, shiphome, QA setups, release notes, operational guides - all start to have more meaning to them than they did when you merely found them bothersome stuff you had to put up with :)

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