Friday, July 25, 2008

Feature Priorities

One of the most interesting interview questions I've heard is: What should a snack vending machine be like in 5 or 10 years?

There are loads of possibilities. If something's out of stock, the machine should direct you to the nearest machine that has that item. It should recognize your RFID and automatically highlight choices fitting your preferences (or dietary restrictions!) It should offer different items based on time of day or season of the year. It should be accessible from the desktop, so you order what you feel like, and the now robotic machine delivers it to you.

I've spent some time mulling this question. I considered outlandish possibilities, like a machine that prepares your snacks to order, or one that automatically supplies nutritionally correct items at the appropriate time.

But I've decided there's one overriding feature I'd like to see in the vending machine of 2013.

It should work! It should give you the damn item you paid for.

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