Wilson Miner on social music design

@viborc: What were the main differences in design approach at Apple and Rdio?

WM: The way we worked at Apple was unlike anywhere I’ve ever worked before or since. There’s a level of iteration, and a commitment to building prototypes that work and feel like finished products, that I honestly don’t think would be sustainable in very many other places. It’s certainly very foreign to the startup culture of getting something out the door and pushing features out very quickly. We had high standards for design at Rdio, but it was still a small team in a very competitive space, so we had to have a pragmatic attitude about getting things built that people could use, knowing we’d be able to come back to it.

One thing I learned at Apple that had a lot of value in an environment like Rdio was to think a few steps ahead all the time. At Rdio, we’d often push the design of a feature a few steps beyond what we thought we were ready to build right away. Even if what we released had some compromises, if we’d already thought through the next iteration and the one after that, we could set up a continuity in the product that made each thing we add feel more natural and considered, rather than a series of fixes bolted on.

@TobyHowarth: How did you use design to compete and exist alongside Spotify and Grooveshark?
JB: It was a lot of fun working on a music product. So much is changing with the music industry and social networking right now, and it’s actually possible to make a good experience with streaming and mobile apps that just wasn’t possible a few years ago.

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