random thought

[Part of the Microsoft Blue Monster Series. Backstory from Steve and Kris etc.]
This cartoon came to me at about 4am this morning… I’m sure Kathy Sierra has said the same thing before, better than me etc…
[UPDATE:] From Jonathan Schwartz, CEO of Sun:

All of which is to say – no amount of fear can stop the rise of free media, or free software (they are the same, after all). The community is vastly more innovative and powerful than a single company. And you will never turn back the clock on elementary school students and developing economies and aid agencies and fledgling universities – or the Fortune 500 – that have found value in the wisdom of the open source community. Open standards and open source software are literally changing the face of the planet – creating opportunity wherever the network can reach.

Free Ones. Free Zeros. It’s all good etc.

[Note To Self:] My detractors think I’m pimping Microsoft. They are wrong. I’m pimping The Hughtrain. Heh.


  1. I went to a talk by Bob Spence at the Cambridge Microsoft research centre http://www.ukupa.org.uk/cambridge/archives/000425.html
    If you ever get chance to hear him speak I would recommend it – staggering all the blindnesses that we humans have!

  2. Hugh,
    The cartoon today “It’s not what the software does, it’s what the user does” is awesome! From a productivity, support, development, deployment, aspect it is 100% accurate.
    Perfectly coined!

  3. It is indeed what the user does.
    And very important inputs to what the user does is what the software encourages the user to do…what it will let the user do…and what it attempts to prevent the user from doing.

  4. Matt Lacey says:

    That’s spot on.
    There should be giant posters of this in every deevlopers office/cube!

  5. And that is where the soul of Microsoft is … with the user.

  6. Funny, I just put this up on the office notice board:

  7. Freedom; what a concept.
    You can attempt to litigate creativity into containment, but you will never kill or control those who have the seemingly endless resources to innovate new solutions.
    Take away my hammer, and I’ll use a rock to pound nails. Take away my nails, and I’ll use wooden pegs or weave ropes to bind projects into stability. Take away my tools, and I’ll make more to take their place. Expressions of creativity will always find an outlet, be it chalk lines on cement, charcoal on paper, or ink drawings on the back of business cards. Innovation will out, eventually, regardless.
    How do you compete with free? How can one compete with endless innovation? The only way I know is to pick you target markets wisely, price competitively, and never rest on your accomplishments. There will always be someone out there better, brighter, and willing to do whatever it takes to create the next best release for no other reasons than for the sake of creativity and for no compensation other than bragging rights.
    You eat what you kill and you keep on moving, for tomorrow your efforts becomes someone else’s targeted potential market.
    If any venture wants to survive, they best be hanging a ‘Shh! Creative destruction at work’ sign from their rafters and keep out-innovating the rest of the world because after all, coasting is a downhill affair.

  8. Hugh this is really one of your best. as you know, I’ve seen most of your work and this is right up there with the best. Congrats…it’s my new business card.
    I’m not sure how you do it but you have a knack for taking something complex, adding a sguiggle and putting it on a small piece of card in a very very succint way. You should be in marketing ūüėČ

  9. Not exactly rocket science though is it, to be stating the bleedin obvious (in your best John Cleese voice). A timely reminder, however.
    As to Microsoft having a soul? I think that’s a somewhat Faustian assumption.

  10. Hugh,
    This would be a fantastic one to add to the streetcards site. I bet it would be the most produced business card of all. I know you just posted some new ones on 5/7 but I’m begging you to post this one there ASAP :)
    Thanks, great work as always.

  11. Reminiscent of an old (circa 1995) Apple ad that went like:
    “It’s not how powerful the computer is, it’s how powerful the computer makes You.”

  12. I would love for this to be on the back of my next set of business cards (the wolves and sheep have had enough)!
    Would you consider adding just two words to the end i.e. it’s what the user does with it!

  13. detractors – what detractors – lemme at em.
    FYI – my blog tag line: Technology changes. Humans don’t.

  14. Hugh. Truly love this. Can I have permission to print this onto a T-shirt?


  1. […] (Inspired by Steve Krug and Hugh MacLeod.) […]

  2. […] Let etter feil og mangler og rett de opp n√•r du finner de. Ikke se p√• det som et nederlag at de finnes, men jobb kontinuerlig med √• forbedre nettsidene. Fokuser p√• enkelhet og minimalisme. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs not what the software does. It‚Äôs what the user does‚ÄĚ […]

  3. […] not today, with its exclusive focus on tools and channels. What about people and behaviours? Hugh MacLeod said it well in 2007: it’s about what the user does with the software, ie, the tools and the […]

  4. […] me, this view is summed up simply and clearly in this cartoon by Hugh MacLeod from 2007: as the text says, it’s not what the software does, it’s what the user […]

  5. […] other barcodes are doing, and the unhappy outlook for their future, I’m always reminded of Hugh McLeod’s classic cartoon from 2007 you see […]

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Hugh MacLeod is a genius.  Genius.

Seth Godin
Best Selling Author

His work acknowledges the absurdity of workaday life, while also encouraging employees to respond with passion, creativity, and non-conformity...   MacLeod’s work is undeniably an improvement over the office schlock of yore. At its best, it’s more honest, and more cognizant of the entrepreneurial psyche, while still retaining some idealism.

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Lydia Depillis

Last year my State of the College address was 76 slides loaded with data. This year it was 14 cartoons that were substantially more memorable.

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Tony Hsieh
CEO, Zappos

In moments of indecision I glance at the wall [to Hugh's work] for guidance.

Brian Clark
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