I have a lot of correspondences with interesting people. This thread I was on was a discussion between a few guys I know in technology. One shared the article "It isn't lying if you believe it" by one of the co-founders of Netflix -
As software began to be sold to people who would never consider themselves technical, it suddenly became clear that you needed people who spoke their language. It became fashionable to hire product managers from places like Proctor and Gamble. Or Clorox.
It drove the engineers crazy. It was best when you had iron-clad test data demonstrating something purely ridiculous; like that software in the blue box sold twice as well as the exact same product in the red box. It made their head explode. On the one hand, they knew with absolute conviction that there was absolutely no reason why the color of the box should make the least bit of difference. But, on the other hand, they also knew with absolute conviction that data didn't lie. After puzzling over this paradox for a few hours they had no choice but to conclude that maybe us marketing people had some value. Or practiced a kind of black magic. Or both.
These days, the soft bigotry of anti-hucksterism can be seen every day on HackerNews. And there are still plenty of hustlers not quite getting how important their technical co-founder actually is to their success. The truth of the matter is that both sides need each other. We always have and we always will.
A reply from a friend of mine who worked at a few of the top Silicon Valley companies in 1990's to 2000's, and now is CEO of a a company doing a few million dollars in revenues per year replied with this (he's graciously given me permission to repost his thoughts, but wants to stay anonymous for obvious reasons) -
I've worked a lot with engineers. Most are super smart, but incredibly narrow-minded and naive. They believe that everyone does or *should* think like they do. They often won't accept reality when it doesn't conform to their idea of how the world should be or how people should behave. Or, when confronted with hard data they'll accept it grudgingly but never understand it. "It made their head explode" made me laugh out loud. I've seen that.
99.9% of engineers are incapable of creating something as simple and elegant as an iphone or ipod because they simply can't comprehend how normal people think or interact with technology. That took Steve Jobs, who is a creative and product visionary, not an engineer.
Check out this site comparing and contrasting the presentation styles of Jobs (a marketing and product visionary) with Gates (more the usual engineer type). Funny how the feel of their respective presos is just like the feel of their respective products.
Now, that's a pretty strong claim. I don't know if I buy it entirely. But it's worth thinking about. I know there's lots of engineering/technical-minded people who are readers here. What's your take?