Why science fiction, you ask? Because it’s beautiful. Because, even in it’s insanity and implausibility, it’s a place that’s lovely to look at and astonishingly easy to use. I’m focusing on the beauty in this post because I just re-watched one of my favorite movies… Event Horizon.
Event Horizon is the name of one of the best sci-horror movies in recent memory. If you haven’t seen it, check out the description on IMDB.
Oddly enough, my 19-year-old self didn’t see the beauty of the movie in 1997. I just thought it was a creepy spaceship movie. However, my 34-year-old self sees inspirational beauty in the rescue ship (the Lewis and Clark), the stranded Event Horizon, and its doomsday portal generator thingy (“The Core”).
The design of the machines in this movie would have to have been done by engineers that cared about design AND designers that cared about engineering. What does that mean? For engineering: quality, ingenuity, and a pride in workmanship that drives them to create monuments. For design: practicality, ingenuity, and a detail-focused pride in workmanship that drives them to create lasting art.
All members of the team involved in creating the final product, must care about both practicality and craftsmanship. Engineering needs to have some design ethos and design needs to live by some engineering principles. We see this bearing out in the market today with emphasis being placed on “everyone being a marketer,” customer experience being a business’s “only sustainable competitive advantage,” and product development initiatives such as Lean UX, where the entire team goes out to collect feedback from users.
The Event Horizon is a great example of what could happen in some unknown future when all of these business mantras converge to actually produce something. Even the Door to Hell (or The Core, whatever) is a stunning display of engineering and design with its smoothly rotating circles, lights, and egregiously intimidating spikes.
For this to happen, we all need to step up our games a bit. Stop with the silos and turf wars. Just think, if you don’t have to stand around policing engineering to be sure they maintain the tight tolerances you specified, you could be spending more time creating and discovering beauty. If engineers didn’t spend so much time either fighting impossible designs, or creating flawed implementations of impossible designs, they could be inventing some really cool shit.
The thing is, I want to work to make this future of hyper-talented product development happen… And not just because it’s also a future where we have a moon colony by 2015 and commercial Martian mining by 2032.