It took a while for the world to notice, but design really matters.

A perfect story of the power of design can be found by traveling back to April 2007 to eavesdrop on a chat with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Apple’s Steve Jobs had announced the iPhone that January, and everyone had had a good while to process the announcement and decide what they thought of it. Ballmer, in an interview with USA Today, opined on the iPhone’s chances to make a dent in the well-populated smartphone market: “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.”

I’m not normally one to indulge in schadenfreude, but the wrongness of that prediction is too illuminating to ignore. iPhone went on to become an icon ...

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