Wow, this new text-editor (Q10) seems nifty and I am thrilled to have found it. Finally, I found something to write on without getting distracted. I just wish this kind of a functionality could be built in MS-Word. This is so handy. I wish people at Microsoft could be more involved with the environment. Microsoft is trying hard to listen to the users but that is the problem, when you are the biggest of all, you often prefer everything organized including customer feedback. However feedback from users is not the only thing they should care about. They should also care about what else their customers are using. Here is a piece of software (Q10) that people are downloading everyday, when they already have its big brother, MS-Word. Doesn’t Microsoft ever bother to find out what other similar softwares people are looking for when they are the leading provider in that software niche. Clearly, people are not looking for a new software as much as they are looking for a feature. When they don’t find that feature, they go on to try new softwares and then they realize that they don’t use that expensive software from Microsoft so much and it’s an ol’ piece of junk lying about in the garage. Frankly, people would be happy to live in the Stone Age if they would only be able to focus on what they wanted to do.
Now, how many times does a writer bother editing font, colour or using the extra formatting features bundled with a word editor? I recall reading on some MVP’s blog that Microsoft spent a lot of dollars in figuring out the needs of law firms and then built the ‘Styles’ feature in Word. This feature is so useful, that I can’t even think of using any other Word editor provided I am an organization in need of standardizing documents. Now, the Ribbon interface is cool, very intuitive but this piece of innovation does not make as great an impact as the ‘Styles’. How many times have you wanted to just throw open the editor and compose a blog post or an essay without thinking about its appearance (formatting). I know there is ‘Live Writer’ but think about it – when you paid for the most powerful Word editor in the whole world, would you really want to download and use a scaled down clone. Why can’t Microsoft just build the functionality of Live Writer in MS-Word and offer it as a free plug-in. This might even help Microsoft marginally increase the sales of MS-Word.
From the unprecedented success of App store, I have learned and now come to believe that people who use technology are not looking for a standalone, do-it-all, multi-functional software but something very objective, you know, something that just works and get things done. They might be kicked into excitement with all the cool features Microsoft built into Word 2010 but when they find out that they can barely use all of its features they won’t be so pleased.
I strongly feel that as users of technology our primary focus is always on getting things done (GTD) rather than being stoked over all the cool features of an application. Can’t Microsoft sense this? The dynamics of this industry have changed. I mean it’s everywhere – take twitter. There could not be a simpler communication tool. And the reason it became so big – it just works. If I have something to say (tweet) to anyone who cares to listen (followers), I have got to use twitter. And now there is probably a hundred companies built around twitter. When did Microsoft last make such a radical product? I have a lot of respect for the company that Mr. Gates has built over last two decades, but as the giant grew, it separated itself from the common masses. And the only approach that I think, can make Microsoft a favorite among us again is listening to what people WANT to use and then building it the way they CAN use it.
That’s all I got to say. What do you think?
P.S – this post was composed in Q10, a text-editor for writers. I did not run spell-checks and use other features to format this post to just see how productive I am when I am focused on writing rather than formatting.