InfoWorld’s Woody Leonhard wrote last week comparing design techniques used by the late Steve Jobs at Apple and Windows Division President, Steve Sinofsky, at Microsoft:
But Sinofsky’s approach to design and that of Steve Jobs couldn’t be more different.
Jobs started with the germ of an idea and obsessively whittled away at it until he felt good about the end product: No focus groups. No user labs. No marketing input. No users telling him what they wanted, or why or how. He had a vision and he brought it to fruition.
Sinofsky, on the other hand, is a master at assembling and dissecting information about the way a product is used. Few people realize it, but he’s been the driving force behind a Microsoft internal product called Watson, the source of the "telemetry" that he’s fond of citing in the Building Windows blogs.
As Windows 8 becomes more broadly available, it will be very interesting to see if visionary design as embodied by Apple’s Jobs and the iPad will maintain its high share of the tablet computer and netbook market or if data-driven designs of Microsoft’s Sinofsky and Windows 8 will win in the marketplace.
In some ways, I wonder how appropriate the comparison is to political campaigns. Is Jobs a brilliant producer slick mail and TV; or is he as shoot-from-the-hip consultant? Is Sinofsky of the new breed of analytical campaign managers who employ the latest academic research or are his methods too poll-driven? It will be an exciting race to watch.