It would be easy to dismiss this as the musings of a small company before they get to scale. However, what I like about it is that the three things they suggest for software developers (look inward, look away from your screen, cede control to the individual) actually constitute very good advice.
So, if not numbers, what might we optimize for when crafting software?
If we’ve learned anything, it’s that all numerical metrics will be gamed, and that by default these numbers lack soul. After all, a life well-lived means something a little different to almost everyone. So it seems a little funny that the software we use almost every waking hour has the same predetermined goals for all of us in mind.
In the end, we decided that we didn’t want to optimize for numbers at all. We wanted to optimize for feelings.
While this may seem idealistic at best or naive at worst, the truth is that we already know how to do this. The most profound craftsmanship in our world across art, design, and media has long revolved around feelings.
You see — if software is to have soul, it must feel more like the world around it. Which is the biggest clue of all that feeling is what’s missing from today’s software. Because the value of the tools, objects, and artworks that we as humans have surrounded ourselves with for thousands of years goes so far beyond their functionality. In many ways, their primary value might often come from how they make us feel by triggering a memory, helping us carry on a tradition, stimulating our senses, or just creating a moment of peace.