Monday, December 05, 2011

Rhapsody, 10 years later

The original Rhapsody 1.0 interface
It's rare in life to have a good idea, the means to execute it, and actually manage to bring it to fruition.

About 10 years ago, launched Rhapsody 1.0.

I was the product manager. One part of a team of talented, hard working people who brought it into being.

The thing I remember best was the feeling of excitement - we were building something nobody had ever seen, and we were going to beat the competition, and we were going to beat the major labels and companies 10 times our size.

And it was going to be amazing. And it was.

Rhapsody created a new way to think about media consumption, more or less. For better or for worse, it's spawned a legion of imitators, copycats, and followers. So far, they all copy the Rhapsody template, and nearly every "new" feature they've brought out or added was something we had already thought of and had to put in the "do later" pile. Unfortunately, the other guys copied most of Rhapsody's mistakes, too.

It's become fashionable recently to bash subscription services for "not paying enough" or something like that. Most are still struggling to get by. It's still a far cry from just a few years ago, when people were wondering whether or not it was a dumb idea.

I've become a much better product manager and designer in the years since. I've worked at other companies, with other people. On bigger projects, smaller name it. I even worked at Rhapsody a second time as the General Manager of Product Management and made their first iPhone app.

But nothing I've ever worked on felt as good as shipping Rhapsody 1.0.

In retrospect, the best part has been the people - all the amazing people I've worked with and learned from over the last 10 years. Too many to name individually, but you all know who you are!

No comments: