I spent most of my spare time from age 8 to 16 learning to play the guitar and these instant gratification things just annoy me.
That said, I agree with the point that presentation is far more important that people think, and the example is a reasonable one. Please stop focusing on the specifics here – Jeff’s trying to make a very reasonable point.
Techies start from a data model and then wrap it with some half-assed forms from a generator – I know we do, I’ve done it myself lots. I learned that this does’t work because the logical view of the data isn’t the user’s view. Not listening to their pain and trying to help them get to where they want is arrogance. For example, on a system our users use (and I did’t write) they hate the way it takes forever to open the person details screen and all they ever want is the email address or phone number – a techie generated the user form out from the data model and joined it to the logically correct place. Imagine how much extra effort it would have been to put the phone number and email address on the summary? Hardly any, but it does’t fit the cod-head approach. I would lay money the coder has never talked to a user or watched one use the system.
The sexy unwritten thing is’t at all new. I worked on many projects in the pre-web days where the client had “bought the powerpoint”. Then they kicked us lots because it was all a lie.