Unexpected Uses

One important thing to keep an eye out for is unexpected ways people use your software. In the 1970s and 1980s, IBM vastly underestimated the market for personal computers, not realizing that people would find uses for these devices that IBM itself could not think of.

When Tim Berners-Lee proposed the World Wide Web at CERN in 1989, his stated goal for the technology was “to link and access information of various kinds as a web of nodes in which the user can browse at will.” Today, we write whole applications that run on his platform.

For a more recent example, when the podcasting company Odeo came up with the idea of building a simple system for posting the kinds of status messages that people would otherwise put into their Skype ...

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