Is Designing Great Products a Matter of Personal Taste?

Here are three companies/products earning great reputation on their innovative design and intuitive user experience. With an episode of the leading guy's personal trait.

Google Nexus one: Andy Rubin

And he wouldn’t compromise, even after it was clear Google would miss their original deadline of shipping the Nexus One in time for the 2009 holiday rush. “Rubin kept saying it has to be thinner,” mumbled one tired team member to me after the event, “so we made it thinner.”

Everything from Apple: Steve Jobs

To Jobs, the world is an epiphenomenon, a side effect of the existence of Steve. Or rather, it is a pyramid with Jobs at the top, a few bright people just beneath him, and then the rest of us — the “bozos”. The customer bozo is not, to him, always right. In the early days it was said the Apple marketing department consisted of Jobs looking in his mirror and asking himself what he wanted

Games from Nintendo: Shigeru Miyamoto

Miyamoto has also been known to have Nintendo implement delays "to make a game […] of the high quality standards that Nintendo is known for," at times even scrapping the entire development of games.

Is great design (not good design) a matter of personal taste that cannot be quantified or qualified? Otherwise we cannot explain the fact that dictators keep churning out great products. If it is true, maybe all design philosophies, especially those for wannabe world-changers, can be summarized in one sentence: find a genius asshole and let him do whatever he wants.

Similar logic-bending stories are heard about other so-called genius. The son of the world's most famous investor, George Soros, tells us through Malcolm Gladwell how to decipher his father's trading secrets.

My father will sit down and give you theories to explain why he does this or that. But I remember seeing it as a kid and thinking, Jesus Christ, at least half of this is bullshit. I mean, you know the reason he changes his position on the market or whatever is because his back starts killing him. It has nothing to do with reason. He literally goes into a spasm, and it's this early warning sign.

After all, as Stephen King says, it might be a "telepathy" stuff.

We are writers, and we never ask one another where we get our ideas; we know we don't know.