Make Things People Want > Make People Want Things

You could consider this a follow up of sorts to the coffee post from yesterday

…but really it’s maybe just a wider statement of intent from Smithery.

I was going to make it a long and fulsome one, but reading this excerpt from this post by Ponoko CEO David ten Have just now set me off, and made me realise I was ready to commit the idea to here.

“Our systems have hyper-optimized distribution and price at the expense of love, meaning and relevance.  We have become consumers at the expense of being people.

Deep relevance is about enabling people to be people again, not cogs in the strip-mall machine.  Deep relevance is about making products that speak to the community you are in service to.

It is not about making more meaningless crap.  We are awash in a world of items we don’t need because our systems demand production of products for the 95th percentile at mass.”

Over the first five months, I’ve been gradually realising what Smithery is about.

I first wrote this down before Christmas sometime*.

It seems to encapsulate everything I’ve done so far, and want to be doing….


Making Things People Want is greater than Making People Want Things.

I know, it’s kind of simplistic, perhaps.  But it has gripped my attention for long enough to take hold.

More to follow, at some point soon… especially that 2012 post about key thinking topics I promised, the companion piece to the Making Projects post.  Soon, soon…


*Instagram tells me it was 3rd November, and I first wrote it in Clinic’s reception book (well, they will be kind enough to supply a canvas).  Every mark we make in the universe is being recorded.


26 responses to “Make Things People Want > Make People Want Things”

  1. It would seem to be obvious – but it really isn’t. Love putting this lens on things…

    1. john v willshire avatar
      john v willshire

      Thanks Stuart, glad you like it. As you say, a really practical lens to put on all sorts of things.

  2. What about making things people don’t know they want ?
    As Steve Jobs said –
    “You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.”

  3. […] difference. It’s high time this perception changed – and it’s why I really like John Willshire’s ‘make things people want’ rather than ‘make people want thi… philosophy. Stuart’s tweet below is a tongue-in-cheek remark, but not completely off the mark […]

  4. […] Brands and agencies spend way too much time and money trying to fill these breaks rather actually making stuff people want. […]

  5. […] good deal more time than I was able to devote, specifically John Willshire’s notion of ‘make things people want’ and the cultural intersection of social enterprise and user experience (which I touched upon in […]

  6. […] experience,” I’m all for the sentiment behind John Willshire’s slogan: “Make Things People Want > Make People Want Things”. And when I hear this thought presented as some kind of revelation, I usually bite my tongue and […]

  7. […] a two-and-a-half-year perspective on the phrase that has come to define Smithery’s purpose: Make Things People Want > Make People Want Things.  I’m trying to make it a useful elongated version of the idea behind the phrase, pulling […]

  8. […] The idea powering Smithery is Make Things People Want beats Make People Want Things.  The former doesn’t replace the latter, as companies still do both, but what’s interesting is […]