Start designing with data, not pages
Figure out what data is important, how it will be stored, represented, and transferred. Think about the generic services that one can build on top of that repository. Only then should you get the wireframe geeks and/or the photshop geeks involved.
This is scary, because you won’t have a mock-up right away. Your PowerPoint presentations will look as if they’re missing something. But that’s okay. This is about doing some engineering style design before product design and interface mocks.
Emphasis mine. Great recipe for creating something no one except an engineer wants to use. It’s a shame really, go grab Tom’s entire PDF presentation (16MB) and page through it. The example sites he references and the imagery, now that’s compelling. There’s a story there, something that grabs everyone. When you get folks passionate about experiences, about making their lives easier, you get customers for life. How can you not do product design first?
For example, using one of the best user experience cliche ever: the iPod. Apple didn’t begin by designing an ID3v1.1 tagged file player. Now they just ask “Which iPod are you?”