re: A thought about quality of software product VIEW POST


Thank you for the post. It made me think.

I have to respectfully disagree with you, however. IMHO, the primary objective of Netflix or Uber is not to build quality and usable software. Their primary objective is to create great customer experiences. Netflix and Uber are not SaaS companies. They do not sell software. They create software to deliver a service. The service itself is not the software.

You can look at it from a spending standpoint. In the case of Netflix, for example, they are spending an enormous amount of money in creating content. They budgeted $6B for content for 2017. In comparison, they spent $800M on technology and development in 2016, which includes paying a very hefty hosting bill (on AWS).

Airbnb is another company that is very innovative from a software creation standpoint, but that I wouldn't call a "software company", as they don't sell software in any way. They sell services to customers. Software is a tool they create and maintain to provide that experience, but it is not THE experience.

You could argue that, in those companies, there is a great focus on creating quality software, thus internally they probably feel like software companies. That is true. Internally, in the engineering departments, they feel like software companies. They act like such and hire top quality talent. But they don't serve the public directly, they serve an organization that provides a service to the public. In the case of NetFlix, the organization provides content to the public. Software is the vehicle to provide that content.

A parallel is a limousine service. A limousine service is not in the car business. A limousine service is in the transportation of people business. Cars are a tool they use to provide the service, even if they make their own limo conversions.

If I had to think of one single thing that distinguished companies that create software of high quality, it would have to be the focus on user experience. So, I'd venture to state the following:

If the company is not primarily focused on delivering a great user experience, it will produce a software of a limited quality.


Thank you very much for this comment! It's basically what I had in mind but I described it from developer perspective only.

Most of the mentioned companies also contribute greatly in open-source projects or have started their own. Calling them "software companies" was maybe a way too simplified generalization.

But I agree it's mostly about user experience in digital world we live in.

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