14 Quick Thoughts on the 14 Year Old Girl Rape Case

Firstly, this is about Daisy Coleman. You can read Daisy Coleman’s story here at XOJane.

Please keep in mind that the case hasn’t been tried in court. So these are allegations.

That being said let me list out some biases, lest you walk into this post assuming it’ll be unbiased.

Bias #1: I have 6 kid sisters. I’m the only elder Brother. In any case of a 14 year old girl accusing a 17 year old boy of getting her drunk and raping her, my sympathies would be with the girl UNLESS and UNTIL the boy’s innocence was proven via HARD FACTS. The fact that he literally dumped her outside her house in the snow doesn’t help his case.

Bias #2: Rape is often a crime of hate and/or desperation. Why hate? Some rapists hate women. Rape is a tool to belittle women. Why desperation? Some rapists think they could never get a woman otherwise. This doesn’t mean rape is justified. It means that there are a LOT more rapists out there than you might realize. Quite a few men have hatred for women. Quite a few men are desperate. Women tend to gloss over this stuff. Don’t. Ignoring reality is a bad idea. There are men who hate women and treat women terribly.

Bias #3: Rape punishment should be a LOT more severe. Why? Because rape leaves victims with long-term mental and psychological damage and it takes a long time to function normally. For some people things are never normal. It’s crazy that rapists get sentences like 18 months or 2 years. That isn’t enough deterrence.

I wouldn’t go as far as the death penalty. However, castration and/or sterilization and 10 years in prison for convicted rapists sounds quite good. Perhaps an additional 10 years if the girl is 16 or below 16.

Biologically, the threat of castration would remove the biological incentive to rape completely. We might be very shocked at just how much the incidence of rape goes down if the punishment is castration.

Quick Note: Yes, you could argue that this would increase the number of rape related deaths. However, it would massively decrease the number of rapes. Would you take a 80% reduction in rapes for a 80% increase in rape related deaths? What if the first means 10 million less rapes a year? What if the second means 20,000 more deaths a year. It’s a tough question.

Bias #4: It’s completely messed up that there’s a culture of ‘She put herself in a situation for that to happen’ so ‘she’s to blame’. Being stupid DOES NOT MEAN it’s open hunting season. If you saw a drunk man on the street, is it suddenly ok to steal his money and shoot him in the head? Why then is there a line of thought that ‘if there’s a girl drunk and stumbling around’ then if something bad happens to her, she’s ‘asking for it’. I’ll address this more later.

Now, with the biases all stated, here are my 14 Quick Thoughts.

#1 Hats off to the Brave Girl for Revealing her Identity

I have a ton of respect for Daisy Coleman. She’s just 16 or 17. She was just 14 when the ‘alleged’ rape happened.

For her to come out took a ton of courage and I hope justice is served (whatever the right justice should be, I don’t know).

We’ve all had bad things happen to us. Sometimes really bad things. It’s difficult to talk about them. Much less to the whole world. Even more so when you know that the criminals (or ‘alleged’ criminals) might never get punished.

This is a really big step for her and for all rape victims. The more girls (and pretty much anyone who’s the victim of a crime) realizes that THEY ARE NOT TO BLAME. They are Heroines and Courageous for stepping forward and bringing their rapists to justice, the more women will come out. The more of the bad guys (and girls) will be brought to justice.

Keep in mind that rapists who are not punished have no incentive to stop raping. We’ve basically rewarded their grotesque behavior instead of punishing it.

#2 Different People have Different Moral Compasses and Different Currencies

This is the single biggest stumbling block. If every 12 to 14 year old kid could be explained this, the world would be much better off.

You might not frame your friend in a drug bust, but they might frame you.

You might not rape someone who’s drunk, but the second guy down the street might.

Different people have different moral and ethical compasses.

If we let people with messed up moral compasses get away with crimes, they get worse and worse. For the Daisy Coleman case, there might be as many as 9 other girls who were ‘allegedly’ raped by the same guy. He’s now in college. I can assure you that the alleged rapist would have an endless supply of stupid drunk girls he could prey on. Girls who put themselves into compromised positions.

Honest Question – Do you think that getting away with one ‘alleged’ rape (and perhaps as many as 10 ‘alleged’ rapes), would make him less likely to rape in college or more likely?

You let a culprit get away once and you end up messing up the lives of 10 or 20 or 600 people down the line.

You let one person make rape seem like a ‘she was asking for it’ crime or a ‘it never gets punished’ crime and it incentivizes tens of thousands of rapists around the country to rape.

If you don’t stop crimes and punish crimes you create monsters.

#3 Putting yourself in Danger is a very, very stupid thing to do

Let’s separate this into two things –

  1. It’s a very very stupid thing to put yourself into a compromising position. A position where you are at the mercy of someone else who might have a very, very different moral compass.
  2. You are not in any way responsible if a crime happens to you AFTER you put yourself into a compromising position. It’s still a crime. It’s still 100% the fault of the committer. It’s still ZERO % your fault.

The Moral Compass idea is a very important one.

A LOT of girls grow up in an environment where they have no idea that other people have very different moral compasses. Why? Because their family and close friends are very likely to be similar and share similar values and morals.

So, someone has to explain to kids, especially teenagers, that things like drugs and alcohol are dangerous because of two main reasons –

  1. They impair your judgement and health, especially if taken in excess.
  2. They put you at the mercy of other people. Alcohol + the wrong person in control = you get raped. Drugs + the wrong person in control = you end up in jail or a prostitute.

Hard as it might be to imagine, drugs are ten times worse than alcohol. Get addicted to drugs and you run the risk of losing everything and of dying a thousand little deaths.

#4 Putting yourself in Danger does NOT make you liable for any crime against you

This is very simple – It doesn’t matter how bad of a situation you put yourself in. A crime is still a crime.

If you make a major mistake and then have to pay for it, the last thing you should do is blame yourself. Learn the lesson and absolutely NEVER put yourself into that position again. However, don’t beat yourself up for your mistake. Everyone makes mistakes. Make sure not to repeat your mistakes.

Your making a mistake DOES NOT JUSTIFY a crime against you. You are Innocent.

#5 You don’t have to drink and do drugs to be cool

This one is hard. There’s a lot of programming from society. The only way to keep people as serfs in a free world is to create societal programming and to create evolutionary traps. You can hardly expect someone to free you, with a few sentences, from what has been fed into your head for decades. You just have to think freely for yourself and free yourself.

Drinking and drugs are not cool or important. Neither is popularity or the approval of your peers. In 5 years neither high school popularity, nor college popularity will matter. In a few years there’ll be so much alcohol available you’ll be sick of it.

#6 If you get raped, or have a crime committed against you, it’s NOT your fault

Detach the ‘How can I avoid this in future’ from ‘what did I do wrong’.

Learn the lessons and avoid putting yourself in a dangerous situation in the future. However, don’t blame yourself. Don’t even think in that direction.

This is very, very important.

Parts of society are messed up. Society preys on the weak. If it sees weakness it tries to eat the weak. This is why we have wafer thin models in magazines and steroids and pornography.

Be strong. You want justice. Don’t let even a sliver of doubt into your system.

Know that there are millions around the world who share your experience and who have fought back. That there are millions who will take inspiration from you.

You can be the example that saves millions of girls. You can be the example that gives millions of girls the courage to strive for justice.

There are a lot of good people in the world. Just because the bad people make more noise, don’t give up the fight. The good people will help you – you just have to make your voice heard.

#7 Parents vastly under-estimate the age at which kids ‘grow up’ and start ‘experimenting’

They’ll be exposed to the ‘growing up’ thing very, very soon.

Criminals start grooming girls and boys at a very young age. In UK gangs start with 10 year old boys and girls.

The Daisey Coleman case is a good example. This was a 13 year old girl and a 14 year old girl. They were invited to a party and offered alcohol by a bunch of 17 year olds.

Lots of girls get exposed to drugs and alcohol and cigarettes between ages 11 and 15.

You can’t assume it doesn’t happen. You have to talk to your kids at a VERY young age. Get over whatever inhibitions and reluctance you have and TALK TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT THE DANGERS THEY FACE.

Talk to them about pedophiles and inappropriate touching  right when they are 3/4/5 and talk to them about drugs and alcohol when they are 10/11. If you don’t talk to them, they are left vulnerable, which is very, very bad. If you don’t talk to them, they are naïve and run the risk of being taken advantage of.

For the record, it’s absolutely a MAJOR parenting fault that a 14 year old girl –

  1. Was drinking at home with her 13 year old friend.
  2. Sneaked off in the middle of the night for a party with a bunch of 17 year olds.

And, for the record, for the ‘she was asking for it’ people, that in no way justifies giving those young girls more alcohol or ‘allegedly’ raping them.

#8 The ‘smoothest’ people are usually the most dangerous

The most dangerous rapist and predator, we’re talking about a repeat offender here, is usually someone who is –

  1. Careful to gradually build trust.
  2. Very smooth and safe on the surface.
  3. Socially ‘validated’. Usually a friend of a friend or even a relative.

Here, again, the typical teenage response would be – I’m so smart. That person is so safe, That person would never do anything to me. I would never let anything happen.

Don’t trust uncles and aunts or friends of friends or babysitters or nannies. It’s your kids and you get just one chance to keep them safe.

That naiveté and ignorance is what makes young kids such a good target for criminals and predators. Whether it’s drugs or rape or gang recruitment, the young are ideal targets because they’re passing through this strange mix of feeling invincible and being confused and thinking their parents are paranoid and overprotective.

I’m not sure what the answer is. However, and this is why I greatly admire Daisey Coleman for sharing her story, the more kids and young girls and young boys read about what can happen, the higher the chance they will avoid compromising situations and stupid behavior. Not because putting themselves into a position to get raped, justifies rape. No, we want to avoid such situations for our daughters and sons and young ones because you never know what the moral and ethical compass of the person who gets power over them in this situation.

It’s safest to let them make mistakes that don’t carry HUGE consequences like getting raped.

#9 Only a portion of the people being nice to you are genuinely nice

This is the toughest thing to explain to my kid sisters.

When people are being very nice to you, it can mean one out of two things –

  1. They are good people.
  2. They want something from you.

If they want something from you, then it might be something you don’t mind, like introductions to your friends. It might also be something you absolutely want no part of (like ferrying drugs across the border).

For girls, in particular, it’s the absolute biggest mistake you can make if you assume every guy you meet is trustable and wants nothing from you. Perhaps one guy out of five would not take advantage of you. Two out of five might not, but only out of fear of punishment. Two definitely would. 90% of women will argue that the ratio is more like 1 guy out of 100 would take advantage, and the other 99 would not even sneak a peek. All of those women would be 100% wrong.

A lot of girls walk around under the assumption that 99% of guys would do nothing untoward if the guy found the girl walking around dead drunk on the street. That’s just absolute naivete. A lot of guys would take advantage of you. The absolute toughest thing is that it’s often the charming and safe-looking ones who are the most likely to rape you.

A long time ago my friend and I babysat a girl who was dead drunk and stumbling along a sidewalk. It took over an hour for her ex-bf to arrive. In that time there were a handful of really shady acting guys who were eyeing the girl. It was stupid of her to put herself into that situation. She was dressed to the nines. She was drunk. She literally couldn’t stand straight, let alone walk.

However, no matter how stupid that girl was, it IN NO WAY justifies anyone committing a crime against her.

It’s not your fault if someone rapes you. To be on the safe side, avoid situations where you are vulnerable. Don’t leave a friend alone. NEVER leave a drunk friend alone or with some people you just met. Don’t let a drunk friend leave with someone she just met or someone she vaguely knows. This is simple friendship rules.

#10 Date Rape Drugs are everywhere. So are rapists.

On a night out, one of my friends gave me her drink to drink. A drink some ‘friend of a friend’ had given her. It knocked me out for nearly 12 hours.

The crazy thing – we knew EVERY person in that bar. Someone in our own extended social circle was trying to drug and rape this girl.

You have to go out with someone you can trust. You have to have a female friend who never leaves you. You have to refuse drinks from people you don’t know.

You have to be careful even after all of that.

#11 The BIGGEST Change has to be Support for Rape Victims

It’s just absolutely terrible to see so many people attack rape victims and/or patronize them.

It doesn’t matter how stupid a person was. It doesn’t matter how compromising the position the person put themselves in.

It’s NOT OK for someone to commit a crime.

You shouldn’t blame the victim of a crime. They have already paid enough for putting themselves into a stupid situation. They have already suffered for their stupidity.

Don’t make it worse by entertaining the absolutely crazy idea that ‘she was asking for it’.

How detached from reality do you have to be to tell a 14 year old girl she was ‘asking for it’?

#12 I don’t know what the solution is for women who abuse the whole ‘Rape Crime’ thing

I’m talking about women who wrongly accuse a man of rape.

I really don’t know. These women make life terrible for the men they accuse and they make things terrible for actual rape victims.

For the record, I think this creates a very terrible burden where actual rape victims have to go through torturous grilling and character study. It also scares away a lot of women because no one wants to live a painful episode over and over.

#13 Women need to realize they are completely devoid of blame if they are raped. It’s not a woman’s fault if someone rapes her.

I keep coming back to this point because –

  1. Firstly, this culture of blaming the victim scares a lot of women away from reporting the crime.
  2. Secondly, the standard attack on rape victims of trying to shame them and trying to muck up their past life and mentally harassing them, is very effective in scaring away women from reporting the crime.
  3. Thirdly, and this is perhaps worst, some women make the mistake of buying into the misconception that they were in some way to blame or partially responsible.

No, it doesn’t matter if she dressed trashy. Or if she walked naked down the street.

No, it doesn’t matter if she’s sexually promiscuous or not.

No, it doesn’t matter if she’s a tease.

No, it doesn’t matter if she’s drunk or high.

She is NOT asking for it.

The rape victim is not to blame.

Here’s a complete list on Things that aren’t an Invitation to Rape a Woman.

Let’s consider a simple thought exercise –

If a drunk person was walking along the street and someone took their purse and smartphone from them, it’d be stealing. Would it not be stealing? Or would you argue – It’s your fault for being drunk and leaving yourself open.

There’s no crime on the part of the victim. The crime is 100% on the part of the crime committer. No matter how stupidly the victim acted.

Let’s consider another thought exercise –

A family leaves their back door open. A criminal gang comes in, steals their money and valuables, shoots them, and leaves.

Were the family ‘asking for it’? Should the criminal gang be encouraged to kill any other family stupid enough to leave their back door open and ‘ask for it’?

#14 People greatly downplay the damage a rape does

A rape causes lasting harm. It’s a crime of hate. It’s a crime to ‘put women in their place’. It’s a crime with potentially very serious consequences, like pregnancy and STDs.

It’s a crime that takes a lot away from a person.

A combination of –

  1. The ‘she must have been asking for it’ reaction from some people, who usually have vested interests.
  2. The inadequate punishments.
  3. The tremendous mental strain and torture of a court case where the victim’s entire character and life are dissected and attacked.
  4. The idea that the victim herself is to blame creeping into the victim’s head.
  5. The process of the victim constantly wondering what the rape victim did wrong and whether her stupidity caused her to get raped.

means the person has to dig up a lot of inner strength and courage to fight.

Instead of solving the problem we are brushing it under the carpet. By doing this we are making things worse.

Rapists who get away don’t turn into Hermits.

Potential Rapists who see current Rapists get away don’t reform. They, in some ways, are given incentives to become rapists.

Rape Victims suffer a second crime – the drawn out torture of people wrongly implying ‘she was asking for it’ and/or ‘it’s partly her fault’.

Future Rape Victims are given incentive to just ‘shut up and get on with life’.

We start feeding the horrendous idea that rape victims were somehow responsible. They are already beating themselves up over being stupid and getting into a compromising position. The last thing they need is the poisonous idea that they were asking for it.

It’s time to end the vicious cycle.

Closing Thought – Just a lot of respect for Daisy Coleman for sharing her story

It takes a lot of courage.

Let’s hope justice is served.

Let’s hope future rapists see there are serious consequences and are deterred.

Let’s hope more and more girls and boys can avoid getting themselves into compromising situations.

Let’s hope future victims have the courage to come forward and more and more rapists are brought to justice.

Let’s hope the punishment for rape is made much stronger.

Finally, if you have young daughters or sons, or younger brothers and sisters, make sure they read about Daisy Coleman’s story. Make sure you explain to them the dangers that lie outside, and how best to avoid them. The world isn’t all butterflies and cupcakes.

Quick add-on: Perhaps not politically correct to say this, however, the prettier/better looking your daughter/son, the more likely that they’ll be targeted by predators. So if your kid won the genetic lottery you need to talk to them earlier, more often, and you have to be even more vigilant.

One Country

Fish Eaters and Wheat Eaters

The Country was divided. All along the coasts were the fish eaters. In the mountains and in the interior were the wheat eaters. The country was so divided people couldn’t remember a time when fish eaters and wheat eaters were not at war.

There were sporadic incidents that would enflame passions on both sides.

The Wheat Eaters had recently burnt down three fish warehouses in the coastal cities. The Fish Eaters responded by polluting a few pure wheat fields with genetically engineered wheat that tasted vaguely like fish. The incidents were slowing escalating. Things were getting worse and worse

The Village

The Village of Dim was dominated by the Wheat Eaters. Fish Eaters seldom dared to raise their voices – They silently bore the brunt of excessive taxation on fish products and fish suppliers.

Norad was one of the regional leaders of the Wheat Eaters. He had even met the Grand Vizier – the chief Wheat Eater. The Grand Vizier had become more and more adamant that a civil war was needed – to end the Fish Eater nuisance once and for all. Norad had gradually begun to believe that was the only solution. He didn’t like it – However, the Fish Eaters had to go.

Norad would often stay awake at night and wonder if there were a peaceful way to throw the Fish Eaters out of his country. Perhaps tempt them to move to the Southern Islands with promises of unlimited fish and great weather. The natives there were backward and could be displaced rather easily.

The Brother

Norad’s brother Jacob returned after four years of college in one of the coastal cities. Norad had hoped that Jacob would learn the weaknesses and technologies of the Fish Eaters and help Norad in his efforts and with his political career.

A lot can change in four years.

On the third night after Jacob’s return, Norad found Jacob sneaking in a small box into the house. He thought nothing of it. The next morning Jacob had a guilty look on his face and avoided Norad throughout the day.

That night Norad didn’t think of the Civil War that faced his country. He thought of his younger brother. Perhaps he was into drugs. What else could it be?

When Jacob went out the next morning, Norad sneaked into his room. There were 3 small boxes hidden under the mattress. The third wasn’t empty – it was full of little strips of smoked fish.

The Inflection

Norad’s anger had built up all day. When Jacob walked through the door in the evening, he was ill-prepared for what happened.

As Jacob lay bleeding on the floor, their mother started crying.

Norad looked at his brother and then at his mother. At that moment something clicked. He felt his spirit float out of his body and look at the scene with a solemn sadness. Not as a wheat eater who had struck a fish eater. No, he saw himself for what he had become. A failure as a brother. A failure as a son. Someone so enflamed and engulfed by beliefs and convictions that real things had lost meaning.

He was a son first. A brother next. A man. A citizen of his country. He had let himself be defined by other things.

Norad gently helped up his brother and kissed him on the forehead. Then he held his mother’s hand and sat quietly while she cried – this time, tears of joy.

The Room Part 1

There’s a tear in the fabric.

The Chief turned with surprise. It had been seven years since a tear in the fabric. He looked at his junior questioningly.

A small village in the interior. Someone has broken through the belief mist.

The Chief felt a cold chill run up his leg. The belief mists couldn’t be broken. It was impossible. Everyone knew that. Dozens of years of advanced mind control and belief control work had gone into them. The belief mists ran across all of the country. They dictated everything. If they began to tear …

The Assassin

Anthony got the call 17 minutes after The Chief found out about the tear in the Belief Mists. He was 2 days away from Dim. He started off. The last time they had categorized an assassination as Code Red it had been for the President. It was a long time ago. That was one incredibly honest man. Hard to believe he managed to become President. He had stopped the Mind Control agencies from doing their ‘work’. He was suitably rewarded – a bullet through his neck and another through his head.

Anthony hadn’t done that one. He wasn’t even born then. Every government assassin knew about it though. Every little detail, including things that weren’t common knowledge.

Anthony was happy it was just a normal villager. He was tired of having to spend weeks planning out assassinations. A single man with no bodyguards would be a welcome change. Why on Earth was a normal villager classified as a Code Red threat?

The Village Hall

Norad had just finished speaking.

His words, unpolished as they were, had torn out more and more fragments of the Belief Mists.

Nearly half the villagers had begun to realize what he meant. A young man walked over to his father, who he hadn’t talked to for eight years, and hugged him. The smell of fish drowned by the love that coursed through him. He saw his father for what he really was – His Father. A Good Man.

The Room Part 2

The Grand Vizier stood silently. Next to him was a women dressed all in red. She had a brooch with a fish symbol on it. They called her the Governess. She led the Fish People. The President did her bidding.

In public the Grand Vizier and the Governess were at each other’s throats. In private, in the Mind Control HQ, they were … something quite different.

She turned to the Vizier and spoke. Her voice had the chill of dead corpses in it.

It’s spreading. How can one man create so many tears in the fabric. We might lose the entire village.

The Village

Outside the Village Hall, people were talking. Their minds free of the Fish and Wheat that had kept them captive for so long.

They saw each other for what they really were – one people, one country. Norad’s words still rang in their heads.

We are not Fish Eaters or Wheat Eaters. We are one people. We are one country.

The Death

Anthony, the finest assassin to ever walk amongst the Wheat Eaters, moved like a shadow into Norad’s room.

He was taken aback to see Norad sitting on his bed looking at him.

I could sense you enter the house.

Anthony fought down his sense of panic and took out his gun. He had wanted to use the knife, but the gun would have to do. As he raised it up and pointed it at Norad a spade cracked into his skull and sent him clattering to the floor. He was making a lot of noise for an assassin.

Jacob looked at Anthony. Brothers. They were brothers. They might be dead soon, but it would be as brothers.

The Room Part 3

You know we don’t have any other option.

The Grand Vizier bristled at her voice. All these years and he still couldn’t shake the feeling of dread that came over him whenever she spoke.

The plane was on its way.

11,875 people were going to die. The 3,455 who lived in the 7 villages affected by the belief disease (that’s what they called it – admitting there were tears in the belief mists was too dangerous). Villages around them that might have been affected.

All would be dead within minutes.

It was good they had control over the Internet and the Phone Networks. Word of mouth was the only danger left.

The Pilot

The Pilot was a good pilot. He wasn’t a Wheat Eater. He wasn’t a Fish Eater. He was a vegetarian who had grown up in a coastal city.

They had his mind firmly in their grip. They had promised him – he would be a hero. Immortal.

A dangerous belief disease was spreading among the populace in an isolated interior community. A threat to the very existence of this country.

He was to end the threat.

When he was a few miles away from the target spot, he felt a strange clarity wash through him. All he could think of was how beautiful everything was. The little villages below were quaint and perfect in their own way. A belief disease. It was going to spoil everything. He wished there were some other way. He really did. He felt tears stream down his face as he got closer.

He pressed the button. Nothing happened. He pressed it again. Nothing. A mechanical failure.

He heard the instructions and they didn’t quite make sense.

Fly the plane into the ground and explode the bomb that way? General, did I hear you correctly?

The shouting on the other end got louder. Yes, it seems he had heard the General correctly.

He thought of his son and daughter. He had to do it for them. He turned the plane around in a circle and then he started the dive

The End

Norad stood and watched the plane circle and then dive towards his village.

He had expected that. They would end it. Free thinking people were too dangerous.

He smiled as he thought of all the phone calls and emails and messages that were going out. All it takes, is for one person to believe. Then it spreads and can’t be stopped. He didn’t know everything was controlled. Every single thing was controlled. No one would ever get to know.

Norad stood and kept smiling as the heat of the crash tore through him and incinerated every last part of him.

The Room Part 4

It’s done. We’re safe now.

The Governess had a big smile on her beautifully cruel face.

The Grand Vizier was still at a loss for words. Every day he realized more and more that he wasn’t cut out for this. The Chief, he had been the Chief so long no one even knew his name, was silent too.

The President was missing. He would give a speech later, once the Governess had taught him what to say and how to say it.

A young soldier rushed in. The Chief turned to him and that sense, the one that warns you something is very, very wrong, kicked in. The Chief stiffened.

There was a break. The Internet barriers failed for a few minutes. There are tears in the Belief Mists spreading all along the coasts now.

Users are the Judges of Good Design

Target’s Design Lab has a great quote on the Wall: If the user can’t use it, it doesn’t work.

Thanks to John Dooey for this tagline: THE JUDGE OF GOOD DESIGN IS NOT DESIGNERS, IT IS USERS.

It’s part of a larger comment from an article on why iOS 7’s design isn’t good. The entire comment (it’s responding to another comment that says – ” It seems today everybody is an expert on interface design”) –

No, everybody is not an expert in interface design. We rely on Apple for that. We pay Apple for that. What we are, is experts in iPhone and iPad use. 500 million of us, 5–10 hours per day, for up to 6 years now has made us experts on iPhone and iPad use. So the users are not qualified to make iOS 7, but we are eminently qualified to judge whether or not it is more usable than iOS 1–6.

The user is the top of the hierarchy with Apple, not designers, not engineers. With iOS 7, Apple has at least temporarily forgotten that. They put Jony Ive in place of Steve Jobs, but Ive is a designer first and Jobs was a user first.

So your dismissal of users and lionization of the product manufacturer is inappropriate in this case. If you want to eat whatever is served to you, that is available from all of Apple’s competitors already. Try a heaping helping of Windows 8. Apple customers have always demanded functionality. We were given Windows systems at work but lobbied for Macs because of functionality, not because they are prettier on the outside. We paid $600 for iPhones because of what we can do with them, not how they looked. Apple has had to earn every sale 1 at a time by enabling the user to do more than they could with competing products.


Here’s the thing – John Dooey couldn’t be more right.

Good Design is what allows Users to easily, intuitively use a product and derive pleasure and benefit from the product quickly and conveniently

If users don’t like it. If it doesn’t ‘just work’. If it complicates things.

Then it isn’t good design.

It’s not about how pretty it looks to a designer. It’s not about how intuitive it seems to a developer. It’s not about how ‘sellable’ it looks to a saleswoman. It’s not about how ‘impressive’ it seems to the CEO.


If the user likes it, it is Good Design.

If the user loves it, it is GREAT Design.

It’s that simple.

We’ve talked about this before – The Importance of Making Designs that Users Love. Designs that ‘Just Work’ for Users.

You need someone who fights for the user.

People who are True Experts understand that Users are the Judges of Good Design

Here’s the distinction –

  1. An ‘Expert’ is one who doesn’t fully grasp that the product is FOR THE USER. That it’s only ‘the use of the product’ by the user that gives the product any meaning. Without the user, the product is meaningless.
  2. A ‘True Expert’ is someone who has UNDERSTOOD and FULLY INTERNALIZED this tautology. That a product exists BECAUSE the user uses it.

An expert will think – I must demonstrate my expertise and make this design something that will impress my fellow experts.

A True Expert is immune to the validation that other experts could offer. Because it doesn’t matter. It’s damaging to the product when external validation from contemporaries is pursued. A True Expert only values what is valuable to the user.

Let’s consider an example –

  1. An Expert says – It’s so tacky that this smart phone calendar looks just like a real wall calendar. That’s just not cool and hip. All my fellow designers will laugh at me. I won’t be able to show my face at the Organic Cappuccino store any more.
  2. A True Expert says – There are 5.7 million people (or perhaps 57 million people) who have never used a computer before, who will buy this device. There are an existing 8.7 million users (or perhaps 87 million users) who are more comfortable with a wall calendar than an online calendar (which they have no context of – because it doesn’t exist in their worlds). These users comprise 89% of the total user base. Let’s make something that’s EASY and INTUITIVE for them.

You can go with the cool new cutting-edge techy calendar that drives 89% of your user base nuts. That’ll get you design awards that mean nothing.


You can do the right thing and make the calendar as familiar and intuitive as possible for your users. The intelligentsia will make fun of you – However, you’ll be so busy selling your devices, and collecting bonuses and stock awards, you won’t have time to care.

Users Pay the Money, and they’ll Vote with their Wallets

Technology companies have an AMAZING ability to completely disregard the importance of what users think and what users value and what makes life easy for users.

  1. They make the buttons hard to use. Then they blame lack of marketing.
  2. They don’t polish the software and have lots of bugs which spoil the ‘flow’ for the user. Then they blame lack of a large app store.
  3. They make the Email App impossibly hard to use. Then they claim they needed 6 processor cores instead of 4.

It’s a strange sort of blindness.

If your device isn’t selling, then, surely, the first area to investigate is whether or not users are having a great experience with it. Why do companies investigate it last?

Even better, think about it BEFORE shipping the device.

This is basically what we’re losing. There’s no more craftsmanship when it comes to hardware, and even less when it comes to software.

We now have two mindsets –

  1. Make it very cheap or free. Gather lots of customers. Then advertise to them and/or try to turn those ‘free/cheap seeking’ users into profit-generating customers. It’s like going fishing for mackerel and expecting to eat bison burgers for dinner.
  2. Do lots of marketing and create a need/desire/want in users’ hearts. Then sell products to users that will supposedly fill that longing in their hearts. That strategy fails in the long-term. Users eventually realize that the desire/need/want wasn’t their own.

Neither is providing what customers value most – a GREAT experience with the device.

That’s what it’s all about – Users want a device that ‘just works’ and makes them feel great and doesn’t make them feel ‘stupid’ or ‘helpless’ and that makes their life easier.

Whichever company steps in and fills that REAL need, will become the next super profitable company.