That Holy Shit Moment

Sometimes things don’t sink in. I’m sure I’ve heard people talk about this topic before, maybe hundreds of times, but it was something about the way John Gruber said it that it sunk in.

That holy shit moment: that moment when someone gets what you are doing and realizes how amazing it is. Seeing a Mac for the first time, in 1984, was like that. (Holy shit! I can do everything visually instead of remembering arcane commands.) The iPad was like that for me. (Holy shit! The perfect combination of size and weight to carry stuff with me all the time.) So was the PalmPilot. (Holy shit! People are going to carry these around in their pockets.) I had that reaction with the Internet (Holy shit! I can actually follow my beloved Cleveland Indians from across the country), GMail (Holy shit! All the company mail without configuration), and Dropbox (Holy shit! All my files with me wherever I am).

In Infinity Softworks’ history, I’ve seen this reaction three times to our products. The first was with our financial products back in the late ’90s. Holy shit!, was the customer reaction. I can carry one device, a PalmPilot, and still have my calculator. The second was powerOne Graph when we’d show it to teachers and administrators. Holy shit!, my kids won’t spend so much time learning keystrokes. And third is what we are working on now. I see the look in people’s eyes when I show it off. Sometimes those words even stream from their mouths.

I never put it together before. We have developed multiple products over many years, some we shipped and some we didn’t. I’ve always assumed that figuring out which to ship and which to hold was a black art, a gut feel. But now I know better. What I’ve always looked for is that holy shit moment. Seeing that from enough people makes one realize the product could be something big.