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Real Technology Lessons (in stick figure)
March 14, 2007
by Brand Team
“You want to explain virtualization with stick figures. Stick figures.“
It wasn’t an easy sell. Software companies don’t do stick figure. Obscenely large starbursts? Sure. Cheesy 3D icons? Definitely. Mick Jagger? Bring it on. But stick figures?
Well, they’re used in storyboarding for a reason. They’re simple. They’re fun to draw. And they don’t clutter up complex stories. So they are great ambassadors for talking about technology.
You know, technology wasn’t always so hard to explain. People had problems, and a new gadget promised to fix things. Add a little innovation, exchange a few dollars, and it was quickly evident if the technology lived up to its promises.
Somewhere along the line, things got complicated. Buying technology became a habit. Especially buying software. And as software development progressed, it made smaller and smaller leaps of innovation.
The promises became less about solving your problems and more about dazzling new and improved features. Features that weren’t all that useful in the first place. When you picked up the shiny box of software, it seemed awfully lightweight for its size and price.
The back of the box had bulleted lists of numbers and jargon. You wondered what they were selling that you actually needed. Everyone else was upgrading to the software inside this shiny new box, but no one could actually tell you why.
When talking about technology becomes so complex that even geeks can’t explain it, the rest of us are in trouble.
So when we saw that Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 was designed to solve real-world problems, we knew those were stories we needed to tell. We didn’t want to use indecipherable words like “virtualization” and “live migration” without giving simple explanations of what those technologies mean to our customers.
We thought about making flashy movies with stylish animations, just like any other company would have done. But at Red Hat, we try to find simple ways to solve complex problems. We did it with virtualization. We’re doing it with tech support.
So, we figured, why not tell these (complex) stories in an equally simple way?