This e-mail is a response to THIS and then this. I like Sony. From a hardware perspective, their work on Playstation2, and PS3 was inspired and utterly innovative. The Cell is a masterpiece. But I, like everyone else, am unhappy with their offerings. So here’s a couple of suggestions I’d give them if I could.
Here’s a suggestion.
I am a member at NYC Resistor. I have seen lone people walk in off the street time and again with amazingly cool ideas manifest in reality. From augmented reality gloves and visors ( that really don’t suck and just need more soft development ), to 3D printers, and on to ridiculous musical instrumentation.
A lot of the allure with DIY is the Y part of it, but sometimes you see something utterly exceptional. Something that stands not just alone, but could very well stand in every home far from it’s uniqueness and still hold value. That being said, what is staggering to me, is that in the past 2 years I’ve seen a large number and variety of these awesome ideas produced at our space.
Sony, has an opportunity on two fronts here.
First, get back to their roots. No one needs thirty focus groups and team leads from five teams to define innovation, hell I don’t know of a time on this earth that, this development methodology has actually produced anything innovative. I am pretty sure it hasn’t ever. And yes, you need those team leads, project managers, and focus groups to bring a product to mass production, but you need an idea first. Give your engineers a couple days every month to just create. No input from anyone, no bike shedding, no criticism. Just let them build something. Hell, why let the engineers have all the fun. Get everyone around the table.
I know this seems silly, but NYC Resistor isn’t my day job. It doesn’t get me richer or more famous… at least not directly. It does give me amazing ideas and it brings people together in the pursuit and refinement of ideas. Let your people just brainstorm together over a pile of prototyping tools. Mixing their wisdom, and learning from each other. Experiencing the joy of design. It will promote mutual respect and admiration, and give everyone a clearer idea of the work that the company does. Reward people for their innovation. If someone creates something great buy them dinner. If it’s so great it should go to market, give them their opportunity to shine, and make sure everyone else knows it. I am certain, that this will yield incredible results.
The second front, is engaging your audience. Apple has entered the proverbial “uncanny valley” of DRM and “experience” providing. Be the west germany to their east germany. Get indy designers and developers involved in your games and designs. Give joe customer the ability to get access to these Indy ventures. Engage people, as contributors, as fans, and as fellow lovers of robots. Stop being the sony in a suit and tie litigating, and telling their fans “no”. Be sony in a short sleeved shirt with some horn rimmed glasses, smiling and being excited to see other people, ANY people enjoy their devices. Derive absolute joy from that, and that alone.
If Sony does that, they will rule the world. Google, Apple, and even Nintendo will fall before them.
That’s just my opinion.