“Sometimes you have to make a prototype to get the point across.”

This morning I listening to the Scoble interview of the Twitter guys, and Biz Stone, the co-founder of the company, was explaining how the concept for Twitter was born. It’s an interesting story because nobody at the company thought it was a good idea. It wasn’t until they actually built a prototype that people started to see the usefulness of Twitter. Biz puts it best when he said:

“We had to build a prototype to get the point across. Sometimes you have to do that.”

As creative people, there are going to be times when you have ideas that no one will fully understand but you. And that’s ok. Don’t let that discourage you. But you can’t expect people to believe in a concept for too long. Build that prototype and show them what it does. Seeing is believing.

Oh, and you can follow me on Twitter too. Have a great weekend!

Leave a Comment

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • fotbollströjor April 1, 2017, 11:06 pm

    An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a coworker who had
    been conducting a little research on this. And he in fact bought me lunch because I
    discovered it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this….

    Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to discuss this matter here on your web site.

    fotbollströjor

  • technikhil May 2, 2010, 11:31 pm

    It seems great minds think alike :-) Paul Buchchiet of FriendFeed posts about prototyping as well – check out my post on it – http://technikhil.wordpress.com/2009/01/23/try-

  • Shanel Yang June 7, 2008, 2:41 pm

    I would add that a prototype always improves your presentation of any idea. Whenever I'm trying to explain something that a listener is obviously having difficulty visualizing, I do a quick sketch. This is useful for two reasons: (1) Either the concept becomes clearer to the listener, or (2) I realize why the concept was fuzzy in the first place from the lack of clarity or logic of the thing in the drawing.

    Also, a lot of people have a hard time visualizing, even if you are very good at explaining or describing things. That's why successful real estate agents recommend “staging” any home for sale to let potential buyers actually see how the internal spaces could be put to their best use (even if the actual homeowners never decorated it like that while they lived there). This is also why washing a used car before showing it to buyers increases the sale price by at least $100!

  • Shanel Yang June 7, 2008, 10:41 am

    I would add that a prototype always improves your presentation of any idea. Whenever I'm trying to explain something that a listener is obviously having difficulty visualizing, I do a quick sketch. This is useful for two reasons: (1) Either the concept becomes clearer to the listener, or (2) I realize why the concept was fuzzy in the first place from the lack of clarity or logic of the thing in the drawing.

    Also, a lot of people have a hard time visualizing, even if you are very good at explaining or describing things. That's why successful real estate agents recommend “staging” any home for sale to let potential buyers actually see how the internal spaces could be put to their best use (even if the actual homeowners never decorated it like that while they lived there). This is also why washing a used car before showing it to buyers increases the sale price by at least $100!

  • JohnRocheleau June 4, 2008, 10:06 pm

    And then there is the unexpected that happens when others start playing with your prototype. More perspectives mean creative opportunities to enhance what you do. Or not :-)

    John

  • Karl Staib June 4, 2008, 9:46 pm

    I know that I've been there with my wife. She still struggles to see the reason for me to create my little niche on the Internet, but that's all right because I have faith that it will all come together real soon. When it does then she'll understand.

  • Clara June 2, 2008, 2:44 am

    Yes, prototypes are needed more than people really give it credit for! When you want to start a business, do you have a business plan in place or a software documentation? What about a contingency plan? Of course, it's always tough to balance between planning too much and actually getting things done, which is why I've found the “GTD” theory pretty helpful in that regard. :)

  • dancovington June 1, 2008, 5:44 pm

    Decent interview by (the ever-prolific) Scoble; bet those guys are hearing “why's twitter down so often” in their sleep (read nightmares).
    And regarding your takeaway, it seems to me that's the 64 million dollar question: when does one stop (perhaps compulsively) planning, and just:
    – launch the new site;
    – develop his dream; or
    – start that new business.
    Great LifeDev insight as always; thanks!

    • Glen Stansberry June 1, 2008, 6:07 pm

      Thanks for the kind words Dan. I'm starting to learn through the projects that I've launched that the best time to launch a new site is yesterday :) The site will never have all the bugs fixed nor will it ever be feature complete. You just have to launch and develop the site based on feeback.

      That's not as easy to do with a physical business though ;)

  • Glen Stansberry June 1, 2008, 4:51 pm

    Definitely Tim. It took me a long time to embrace it, actually. And once I finally started to embrace it, it started to go down so often that it was hard to use :)

  • Tim June 1, 2008, 4:34 pm

    Twitter is definitely one of those ides that I could see getting shot down in the beginning. It's one of those ideas that is kinda hard to explain unless you show someone how it works, so I can definitely see why a prototype was needed!