You Can’t Do That Because of This!

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 2 min read

A few weeks ago I retweeted this because it aligned with my feelings on a moment from The Last Jedi that I enjoyed.

A few replies have come in since then, both explaining that Luke actually couldn't fight because he wasn't there. Also, that he could could have been there even if the writers wanted him there because The First Order was blocading the planet.

I've politely replied to both of these comments that while their arguments are technically sound, they neglect to consider that the tale was written by people in this world, and they had full control over the pieces in this story. Could Luke have gotten there if he wanted? Sure, the writers would simply have given him a way to get there. It's not like they were writing, got to this part, and thought, "shit, we can't get Luke to the planet in person, he'll need to find another way."

I bring this up because I think these are fantastic examples of how we talk about product decisions as well. We act like X can not change or be any other way because of Y. But often, Y is not an immoveable object and it too can change.

Think about touch on the Mac. Someone will say "Macs should have touch screens" and then someone else will inevitably say, "but macOS isn't built for touch." Sure, macOS isn't built for touch today, but that's not something set in stone.

Or think about how Apple added home screen widgets to the iPhone last year, but not the iPad. I've had countless people explain to me how it simply does not work on the iPad because the icon grid is different, and is a total blocker. As I showed in the below video, by changing the "Y" in that scenerio (the icon spacing), we can get what we want ("X").

There are infinite other examples, but my point is that when making decisions on how to develop products into the future, we should remember that almost nothing is an immovable object.