Form, fit, function, and generosity 2021-01-31 15:58:33

The solutions you build to help other people can be described in terms of form, fit, and function.

Form
is what the solution looks like: a revolving belt, glass bent into a particular shape, an app.

Fit
is how well the form meets someone’s needs from their perspective (this might be worth repeating twice).

Function is the action that the solution is intended to perform to meet a need: running for physical fitness, holding drinking water for hydration, facilitating the acquisition of desired goods and services.

Generosity without consideration for form, fit, and function creates the risk of not making an impact. The PlayPump, a water-pumping technology that was backed by millions of dollars in charitable donations but ended up failing due to a lack of consideration for form, fit, and function is a perfect cautionary tale for this.

To the extent that generosity is motivated by a desire to help, it’s important that form, fit, and function are considered in addition to your desire to give in order to maximize your ability to help the people you aim to serve.

William Liao

A leap is several small steps in disguise Looking for edge damage
Beginning with the form is the biggest mistake we make. This is often coined in Startup Land as obsessing over the product/solution rather than the context/problem.

When obsessing over the form we try to fit the context to match the form... which results in an artificial function (usually unsustainable) and a poor fit. 

The writer of ShapeUp often uses Christopher Alexander's terms for this when designing web applications. Form = what you described. Context = the environment into which the form fits into (the problem space and the stakeholders). Goodness-of-fit = how well does the form address the context. This will include the function.

The argument is that understanding of the context driving the form is a much better approach to achieving goodness of fit than thinking that your form can be so powerful to drive the context.
2021-01-31 18:28:04
And here I thought you were referencing some type of sex toy. 🤣

2021-01-31 23:23:26
abrahamKim
 I agree with you. A lack of consideration for changing context is also why some organizations tenaciously hold onto forms that were once valuable. E.g. Kodak, Yellow Pages, Blockbuster. 
2021-02-01 15:04:57
Shit man. I just realized. That maybe
jasonleow
,
Arcticloon
, and I are holding too much onto the form of the old school 200WAD (old app we used to all write on).


something to ponder on... lol


2021-02-01 16:26:35
Addressing maybe, to your point, would be reestablishing and reaffirming context, function, and fit :)

Of course now I'm kind of at a loss with using these terms because I can't forget
therealbrandonwilson
's comment hahahahahaha 
2021-02-03 14:55:53
Lmao TheFakeBrandonWilson is not a troll at heart but often his words are trollwords 
2021-02-03 14:58:18
What do you mean, I truly believed it was a sex toy and was very disappointed to discover it was some revolutionary invention intended to better mankind. 
2021-02-03 15:05:54
I look forward to a future where I'm on a TED Talk stage laying out the mechanics of form, fit, and function only to find myself breaking down laughing in front of a deeply confused audience. 
2021-02-03 16:35:57
abrahamKim
 good point about the ball-and-chain of referencing the past. Which version of 200wad were you referencing more? I was looking more at the first version at Product Hunt launch, plus a few more features that came along after. 
2021-02-05 09:13:38
jasonleow
I'm thinking the more developed version of the Product Hunt launch. When it looked the same but had features like Collections.

I cling onto that past form only because I've had nostalgic attachments to it. And also because the cost of imagination is high in terms of cognitive effort lol
2021-02-05 15:54:52
abrahamKim
yeah I think we were likely referencing the same verison. Up till the chat rooms feature I think, way before the twice rebranding. For me it's more referencing to see what worked for me and what didn't. Community platforms are a mostly solved problem, so I didn't want to reinvent the wheel and like you said, invest unnecessary cognitive effort for those parts of the UI... 
2021-02-06 06:22:00
LMAO. THE CHAT ROOM. For me that was the first thing I looked at and thought bad. Because I knew he'd spent a lot of time on it but it didn't seem necessary.

Yes community platforms in general are a mostly solved problem. But what we're trying to do is not a community platform but a community project specified at a particular community!

The difference would be the former being equivalent to building a community platform software like DEV.to vs building a community (either with something like Dev.to or bespoke like we are doing).

Another parallel to this would be the difference between working on Wordpress' core and building either wordpress sites or a bespoke blog.
2021-02-06 13:18:53