Last week I got to hear the newish director of IDSA, Frank Tyneski, talk to a load of students about the power of design. He was really, really good and brilliantly positive, which was a little humbling. (Default setting for hard-bitten hacks is cynical, you know, so someone who radiates such enthusiasm and optimism has to be eyed with distrust.)

As a former Blackberry/Motorola designer, Frank was both self-deprecating and insightful when it came to Apple and the iPod/iPhone. “It’s not perfect, but it is wonderful. It’s not an artefact; it’s an experience,” he said of the latter.

Then he pointed out that if any company had the right to dictate the music listening/playing category, it was Sony, which owned both the Walkman and Sony BMG. But, he said “Sony didn’t think of themselves as a provider of an experience. They were a creator of artefacts.”

By thinking differently, by going the distance and by putting trust in the power of design, Apple was able to come in and whup Sony. Nice analysis, Frank. And judging by the mob scene that occurred aftewrards, the students seemed to like it, too.

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