On creating software that people want to use…

I stumbled across this piece in Jamie Zawinski’s blog pointing off to a longer article entitled Groupware Bad. He discusses the history of collaboration and calendaring software, and why it sucks. (There are a bunch of really interesting responses on the blog; see also here.) Direct and to the point (and, apparently, widely linked). Money quote:
If you want to do something that’s going to change the world, build software that people want to use instead of software that managers want to buy. When words like “groupware” and “enterprise” start getting tossed around, you’re doing the latter, [and] nobody would ever work on it unless they were getting paid to, because it’s just fundamentally not interesting to individuals.
So I said, narrow the focus. Your “use case” should be, there’s a 22 year old college student living in the dorms. How will this software get him laid?
That got me a look like I had just sprouted a third head, but bear with me, because I think that it’s not only crude but insightful. “How will this software get my users laid” should be on the minds of anyone writing social software (and these days, almost all software is social software). [It’s] about making it easy for people to do other things that make them happy: meeting, communicating, and hooking up.

(Linked from Many-to-Many, which is fascinating in its own right.)