In my previous two posts, I wrote about and . In one I outlined what I’ve learned about customer service from our Ubuntu philosophy here at GAP. In the other I wrote about how powerful data can be when it’s allowed to simply “do without doing.” Now I’m going to talk a little bit about how we combined those two principles into our product-building initiatives here.

The Original GAP TaCO Cart

We designed the GAP TCO tool to work like a shopping cart because it’s a paradigm almost all computer users are familiar with when it comes to selecting products. It’s filled with pictures. It has a powerful (and powerfully quick) search function and it all happens within a few screens without a lot of complicated clicking needed.

The bottom line was that we wanted people to be able to use the data that Chris and Gary have spent so many years gathering. We didn’t want to just throw our data onto some huge table that you would have to organize online. We didn’t want you to have to think about how to use the product. It had to be easy to use and thus rewarding to continue to use. It had to work without putting much thought into it on the user’s behalf.? Hence, the shopping cart interface. And that’s why we call it, affectionately, the GAP TaCO Cart.


Very soon after starting on the GAP TaCO Cart we realized that a cart would never be enough. While it’s usable, it’s not adaptable. At the end of the day, our customers decide what’s the most appropriate use of the data itself. That’s why we’ve released an API for the GAP TCO data. With an API, you can create your own mash-up of the information. Take our pricing data, the product images, the hardware and consumables specs, and whip up your own recipe from your own cookbook.

Please, take our chocolate, mix it with your peanut butter.

All Together Now

When it comes to our particular approach to offering products to our clients, the Wei Wu Wei principle guides our approach to technology while Ubuntu guides our approach to service.

Wei Wu Wei

: Do without doing.


: We exist for each other.

Our data does without doing. Users of our TaCO cart, do without doing. Our API allows our data simply be. And all together we make for the best possible experience.