Driving your product

16 08 2013

The challenge
Going to the production line. Everyone who develops a product starts by needing the tool himself. He develops something of use to him or his closest peers. Then a business appears. Facebook. Spotify. Twitter? Netflix. AirBnb. A nice pen. An automated calculator. An aeroplane. Then he gets so busy building new versions of the tool, and to run the company so he no longer have any use of the tool himself. Others have. And he cares about them. Feel responsible. And earn his living from it. So how to build a tool that no longer is of any use for him? He now knows how to market, make sales, grow effective teams. But how can he possible know what’s needed?
Someone would say, he can visit his customers, users, watch them, study them with scientific methods. I ask, is this enough?
Does he need to use the product himself to be able to build it? Does he need to drive the car himself to develop it?
I sincerely believe, Yes!
Someone will argue – it’s enough to know your target groups, your environment where your product are. Is it? To make decisions of overall features, yes. For decisions of details, hmm.. How can you know how the gear handle should fit in your hand if you’re not using it?
But just let someone test drive it for you. Yes good. But as a business leader, on the top of it all, can you make wise decisions without sometimes using your own stuff?
Well, for medical products I guess the answer has to be no, don’t get high on your on supply.. still medical inventions have all? been tried by the inventor, isn’t it so? Pencillin? Viagra? Birth-control pills?
Extensive testing with trial groups is at least a prerequisite to develop any medicine at all. The same should be true for software.

What we right now, too often, are saying is that we neither need to drive our car nor do extensive trial testing in groups for our product. That our general knowledge of the market & users is enough.
Just point & shoot without knowing the emotion of the cars’ gear handle.
Well, you probably can sell a car by following design standards and be a clever business guy. But
can you build a fantastic one with only that?

Ulrika Park

@ulrikapark

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