What is the difference between the products in these two columns?
The products on the left have fanboys. People who love them. The products on the right have a larger user base, but no one really loves them.
The difference between the first group and the second group is that the left-column products were designed by dictatorship (in several instances, Steve Jobs’ brain). The right-column products were designed through a conventional process and everything was approved by consensus.
When you design by consensus, you must cater to the lowest common denominator. The result is moderately satisfactory to most, but beloved by none.
When you want to build a product that is just tolerable to large numbers of people, use a design process. When you want to build a product that a small number will fall in love with, use a design dictator.
Great designs come from great designers, not from great design processes.