It was 2 weeks ago, I'm sitting down at dinner with a friend (Michael Wise) of mine and we were talking about various crap as friends do, but the subject switched onto XBOX 360 achievements and how at times, we play games simply get those special points (ie the game itself almost at times becomes secondary hehe).
It was a throw-away topic of Mike's and he put it down to a "wouldn't it be cool" and left it at that.
I however thought this idea has a lot of merit and began to unpick it further as when you think about it, it could put a lot of fun-factor in products ranging from Line of Business Applications through to Development Tools (more so in this space).
I got to thinking on how say Expression Suite could leverage this idea, given that the target audience is a bunch of creative souls initially and why not make it fun to use.
Imagine if you will, you're working in Blend and you manage to publish your 10,000 project build and suddenly the software reacts:
"Congratulations! You have unlocked DataGrid Advanced, click here to download it"
It somehow then seeds your installed application with the specific DataGrid, so this in return gives you not only street cred but extra kudos in terms of "point of difference" in being an Expression Expert.
Certifications rock, don't get me wrong but you give me a non-certified LEVEL 82, Expression Hunter vs a Certified Professional and I'll give you street cred trumps study guy/gal.
It could go further, imagine if you could suddenly access pieces of community driven sites (Web 2.0 stuff) that are attached to your Windows Live ID and in a sense your ranking gets associated appropriately.
This would be extremely innovative and useful to the wider developer community as while at times we have a lot of really smart certified individuals who do contribute in a number of ways (not devaluing that in anyway) but at times you get these lurkers, the ones that don't want the spotlight or feel the need to contribute but quietly scheme in the background.
These developers can unlock a lot of potential in their peers and this could be a way for them to do so, in that have a discussion with other developers at their level in a way that isn't "Noise".
I personally don't like Forums / Mailing Lists all that much, as at times it's hard to separate the new blood from the old blood and while I can really appreciate the rampup it takes for tools, at times you just want to fire off a complex question to peers that you know are at or around your experience level.
Yet how do you measure this?
Metrics in the software that's how. Expression could go the distance if we were able to somehow slot in a metric approach to keeping score of how developers & designers not only use the product but how frequently.
XBOX 360 Achievements are an absolute goldmine of an Idea, and to cross that over into other Microsoft offerings in the same way in my mind would be an instant success as it's not only a talking point, but a respect point.
"I get 100 emails a day, poor me"
says executive Bruce from ACME CORP.
"Pft, n00bie, I'm like level 60 in Outlook, I pr0wn j00"
says Executive Assistant Joe from ACME CORP.
I think also it could be interesting evidence for employees to give to managers on "Reasons why I deserve a pay rise..." 🙂
I sent this idea to some internal folks, it was well received *grin*. Time will tell whether it gets traction though.
Would you love it? I know I would.
Ya know, you can learn allot about how game software/hardware is packaged.