A muser is a user who, like a muse, inspires you to do great work. It’s hard to build great technology products without a muser. The muser not only adds emotional motivation to the developer’s work ethic; she serves a cognitive function of focusing his mind on the one thing that truly matters: what using the thing is like. Without her, projects disintegrate into scattered bundles of individual features, appealing to the intellect but not the heart.
Some of the best and most popular products were built by developers who were their own muser. Working on ideas that you passionately want to use is a good strategy because, in addition to the work being high quality, you will continue to work on it through the inevitable hard parts.
If your muser is a nonexistent theoretical person that your CEO insists will one day emerge, or your muser is an “enterprise” or a bureaucracy, you will never do your best work because only part of you will be devoted to the vision. One of the benefits of working at Elepath is that we build many projects in parallel, each project is led by its own muser, and new products can come from anyone. Some people had a laugh when I started a company without “an idea”.
In reality, my idea is to slowly build the next great tech company. Products are cheap and last for years, but companies exist over decades (or longer). Our first few muser-led products might be failures, but I believe that, as a long-term strategy, a few winners are inevitable.