Decoding Technology Marketing

Quality inside and out

Hannah Rames wrote this on May 28 / 0 comments

Hannah Rames doesn’t believe in the box, so it’s easy for her to think outside of it and work without preconceived notions.

My mother is a true artist. A fiber whisperer. A seamstress extraordinaire. She's never met a pattern she couldn’t modify, a body she couldn’t fit, a fabric she couldn’t manipulate. From an early age, she instilled in me an ethic of quality in craftsmanship and attention to detail. Where I would scheme the most outrageous dresses and futuristic fashion plates, she would immediately see the underlying construction, the technical specifications, the materials requirements. We brought our creative ideas together in both form and function to innovate on everything from back-to-school clothes to wedding dresses.

I learned from her the sheer joy of collaborating with an expert craftsman to see my vision come to life, and that there was nothing out of bounds when it came to imagination. She also taught me a very valuable lesson in the process: everything should look as good on the inside as it does on the outside.

As we would research different styles to see what worked, or how we could incorporate certain elements into our own patterns, it became clear that what really defined the quality of a garment was not just its look; the construction inside showed the level of care (or sloppiness) put into its assembly. It was easy to tell what would stand the test of time (not to mention be more comfortable to be wrapped up in).

As a professional techie, I've dealt with cobbled together solutions and spaghetti code, erratic quick-fix approaches and round ideas squished into square parameters. Often, the surface of the final deliverable is all that gets noticed, so that's all that gets focus. But take on a task of revamping existing collateral or tools, and all the sloppy shortcuts come to the forefront.

There's a certain logic and rhythm to artful construction of anything--be it a set of brand guidelines, a user interface mockup, an executive presentation--and taking the time to build it right not only makes the final output just a bit smoother, but the process to update it far more efficient. I learn best how to create anything is by disassembling something like it and tweaking small bits of it to see where the impact is realized. The deconstruct-and-modify method was especially effective for learning how to write code (and nowhere else were cut corners so clearly manifested). The underlying logic shouldn't be clouded in mystery and weighed down by irrelevant extras.

Saying "mystery = margin" doesn't mean stamping your seal of approval on shoddy workmanship. What we deliver has a tendency to live on indefinitely, most often without the context of the project experience. Countless times I've been handed older versions of documents, tools, or presentations by clients looking to salvage what they could from the previous incarnations--and more often than not they say "I have no idea what the team was thinking or how they got here… can you make it better?"

Everything you send into the world has your name on it; make it good. Even if it seems non-critical, that extra attention to detail in cleaning things up beneath the surface is what keeps what you've created seen as a successful example rather than a broken, confounding pile of "what not to do". None of this is hard: adding comments to your code, cleaning up document properties, formatting speaker notes consistently. Sure, it takes a little extra time, but the great impression you make is long-lasting. I hope that even if mom doesn't get the ins and outs of what I do, she'd be proud of how I do it.

Hannah Rames wrote this on May 28 / There are 0 comments

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