Elegance in a software business


Dec 2013

Let’s structure some thoughts about running a business - a topic which I touched in a previous post. In a networking world, designing interactions is ever more important. Our businesses require a kind of creativity that make us feel human and special again.

For this, as John Maeda - one of my role models - explains, we join artists and designers with their quest for empathy, as well as engineers with their drive for efficiencies. Our goals too must become “elegance”.

But what is elegance? And, what is elegance in modern IT companies? Let’s look at some examples:

  • The blog Signal-vs-Noise of 37signals is elegant. Here, technology is put in the background, to show how we work and live as humans in the foreground. The logo of 37signals is just great, as are many finer design details and the content.

  • Dataverse looks elegant to me, since it asks us to “re-imagine our data.” - so, we realize we have a fundamental problem with data today. This small sentence somehow embraces empathy to me. It picks up one of my problems instead of showing their offerings directly.

  • For example, neo.com puts out the claim to combine “engineering, lean thinking and delightful design.” The company thereby touches our emotions that make the difference when making, validating and educating businesses. Also, it shows how design can slip into software companies with the concept of “lean”, job stories, storyboards and mood boards.

  • cospired does a good job addressing our imagination too. The word creation derived from “inspiration” is just great, and I like the pentagons in the background, reminding me on the complexity of carbon rings in chemistry and addresses the scientific nature of software development.

  • Not a software company directly, art.sy makes a living of communicating questions of art to a wider audience. It is another form where engineering and design meet.

So, what are your personal examples of companies that embrace empathy, elegance or inspiration?

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