I can't believe I just watched a 36 min long video about the default background image of Windows XP and learned everything about the career of the photographer who took it, but nothing about what I really was interested in: Why did Microsoft choose this image over every other possible image in the world. Well, it was available through Bill Gates' photo licensor Corbis, but other than that? What marketing research went into that decision? Not a word about that. Strange!



@forteller Maybe it was random, and they didn't though so much about it ?

@catalin @forteller this. We tend to ascribe to Big Tech way more intent and intelligence than they deserve, I feel.

@rysiek @catalin Maybe. But I doubt it was totally random. He did talk quite a bit about them changing back and forth between a few images, and used a screenshot of some text that alluded to some feedback from user testing of one of the other images (Red moon desert, which the screenshot said some people had said looked like a butt...). Maybe we ascribe more intent than they deserve, but they having none at all in these types of decisions is unlikely.

@rysiek @catalin More reasons to think they did some research on this: They didn't just license the image, but spent 100 000 USD in that years money to fully buy it, and they used it in a lot of marketing materials, not just as a background (not that I think the default background image is anything "just". I think it's very important, especially before their market dominance was as entrenched as it is today and before everyone used PCs for everything)

@forteller @catalin I would not be surprised if the choice was somewhat random, just someone assigned to pick 5-10 good images (or maybe even Bill himself? 🤷‍♀️ ), and then some user-testing done on these to select The One.

Once selected, obviously it makes sense to go all-in on it, buy it fully, put in marketing materials, etc.

What I am saying is I would not be surprised if they started off without any deep market research on what the image *should* be.

@rysiek @catalin Sure, that I agree on. But they also might have been more intentional about the whole process from the start, though your suggestion does sound likely. But thats exactly the kinds of things I was hoping to learn about from the video and I was so disappointed that it didn't even touch.

@rysiek @catalin Well, I don't actually know if their market dominance was less then than now. But I suspect that the second point was important: They wanted to grow the market, by getting more people to use PCs more. So they needed to get away from the probably quite entrenched idea that PCs are difficult and nerdy, to them being fun and easy and welcoming to everyone. The fisher price look and feel of the UI + the wallpaper works together for that I think

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