Last night we got back from DEMO Fall 2005 where we introduced âProject Comet,â our code name for the technologies weâre building to be the next generation of weblogging offerings from Six Apart. Apart from the excitement of finally introducing and announcing something weâve been working on for over a year, I had the opportunity to demonstrate onstage with not only my husband, but my mother as well.
The premise for my momâs appearance was this: People are always saying that they want to make a product thatâs âeasy enough for their mom to use.â Well, we want to do something more. My mom knows how to use a computer so itâs not just about ease of use: I want to make a product that my mom actually wants to use.
Here's my introduction to our demo:
I have a question for you all. Why do we think moms are so stupid? I ask this because of that âItâs easy enough for my mom to useâ line thatâs always thrown around. Iâm Mena Trott and this is my husband Ben Trott and weâre the cofounders of Six Apart. We make weblogging software and we donât think moms are stupid. We think we just havenât made the product that they want to use.
When I say âmomâ -- a grey-haired older woman sitting by her computer, unsure about where sheâs supposed to click or even if the computer has been turned on. Well, the fact is I was born the same year that the Apple II was released and my mom knows how to use a computer. So when I say I want to make a product -- or in our case, a blogging service -- that's easy enough for my mom to use, I'm really saying that I want to make a blogging service that my mom *wants* to use. More specifically, I want to make a product that this woman wants to use.
So then I brought out my mother and I began asking her why she didnât have the motivation to maintain her own blog. Her three major reasons?
- She feels like she doesn't have anything to say.
- She doesnât want the world to see what she writes.
- She doesnât have the time to keep up with blogs.
We went through all her concerns and showed how âCometâ addresses them. First, she does have things to say â she emails me and calls me constantly. If she was just to write about the family, sheâd have more than enough content. But if she was to write about the family, sheâd feel uncomfortable about anyone being able to read it. Therefore, weâve provided privacy options that let only certain groups read your content. Not only that, but we provide views from the groups she has set up in dynamically driven pages that can be organized by keywords and topics. And finally, weâve built in aggregation in both the application and the âpublishedâ pages.
Weâve taken the stuff weâve learned from the community features of LiveJournal and mixed them with the publishing features of Movable Type and TypePad. And weâve made it extremely media-rich. Adding photos, audio, books and music reviews, etc... is as easy as dragging and dropping files into your posting screen.
Anyway, thereâs a lot going on with Comet and we canât wait to get people using it. Weâll be talking more about it in more detail very soon.
But back to my mom.
She flew out from North Carolina to take part in the demo and she did a wonderful job. She did so well that she won a DEMOgod award! It was so great to see her go up onstage to accept her award. All of us from Six Apart who were down at Demo couldnât have been more pleased.
The best part was spending a day and a half with her hanging out with people from work and seeing first hand what a conference is like for us -- she took part in rehearsals and went to meals with us. And since there isnât that huge of an age difference between her (sheâs 48) and some folks from Six Apart, it was easy to joke around and have her be part of the group.
My mom is the best mom in the world and she definitely deserved to be a DEMOgod!