Seth Godin wrote an interesting post about prototypes today. I disagree with where he went with this argument, but being of a Voltaire-ish world view, I’m really happy with him saying it.
Here’s how my email response to Seth went:
Part of the problem is that there are many, many levels of prototypes. There are sketchy prototypes, rough prototypes, works-like prototypes, looks-like prototypes, works-looks-like prototypes, launched product prototypes (Gmail), you know what I’m talking about.
What I find is that prototype owners aren’t very good about setting context for their audiences. They focus too much on the prototype and don’t tell enough of a story about it. In fact, I’ve found the best way to get people to understand a prototype isn’t to show them the prototype on a table, but to shoot a video of someone using that prototype, or to use the prototype as a prop in a skit. Then you can show how and why it creates value in someone’s life, which is the point of the whole exercise anyway.
So, I guess I disagree that prototypes need to be better than the real thing. It’s the storytelling that needs to be better than reality.
So, kind metacool reader, what do YOU think? Let’s have a comment fiesta below.