Business – Product

The Everything Store:
Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

– Brad Stone – 2013

Use data to make customer-centered decisions.

The Amazon mission is to be the most customer-centric company on Earth. In order to do this, they use data as a driving force for decision making. Customer satisfaction is the goal while data is the means to reach it.

The ability to use data—versus general rules or intuitions which are to some degree different types of data—effectively in more and more decisions is based on having a lot of it, and Amazon has that ability. Because of the large amount of traffic they receive, Amazon can quickly obtain information on what designs, words or offers make an impact on people and keep them engaged. The more data you have, the more questions you can ask about it and the quicker you will get a useful response.

Business, Commerce, Product
Question: How can you use data in your business?

Ready, Fire, Aim:
Zero to $100 Million in No Time Flat

– Michael Masterson – 2008

Waiting until your product is 100 percent perfect before releasing it will prevent you from utilizing customer feedback in the design.

The information you gain from starting something and implementing changes based on feedback can help you get ahead much faster than waiting until you have the perfect and final product. If you put your product out for others to use and experiment with, you may be able to adjust it much faster than you ever could without the user feedback. Real-world user incentives can be valuable and help you stay ahead of the competition.

 Business, Product
Question: What should you do even if you are not 100 percent ready?

The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
– Malcolm Gladwell – 2005

Take both situation and environment into consideration when designing experiments.

The New Coke vs Coke Classic taste test produced positive results for the new formula but, ended up being a flop. People enjoyed the New Coke sweetness after tasting a single shot glass of it but unfortunately for Coke, after drinking an entire can, people preferred the original formula. The experiment was not set up to simulate how people really experience the product. We must remember this when conducting experiments for either commercial or non-commercial purpose. The results of these experiments can have a cultural or financial impact[KH1] and therefore must be done correctly if we want them to be useful.

Business, Psychology, Product
Question: How can I test my product in real-world scenarios?

Things a Little Bird Told Me:
Confessions of the Creative Mind
– Biz Stone – 2014

Adding restrictions can make for a better product.

Constraints in the creative process or what can be produced may help produce better outcomes. Twitter has 140 characters and Snapchat erases the content after it is viewed. These types of restrictions change what we expect the products to do. You do not need to spend an hour writing a full blog post if a tweet can be written in two minutes. The Snapchat app proves you do not need to keep a photo forever. Instead, it can be silly and document your day in a new way without the expectations of a perfect image that will haunt you forever if it looks bad. These limitations free us to use these tools in new and interesting ways.

Business, Design, Product
Question: What constraints can you put on your design to make it better?

Sam Walton
Made in America: My Story
– Sam Walton, John Huey – 1992

Use your competition’s good ideas.

“I probably have traveled and walked into more variety stores than anybody in America.”– Sam Walton

Sam would go into his competitors’ stores and watch how customers shopped. He used the best ideas found at other stores and tried to come up with innovative solutions for his customers.

Business, Product
Question: What ideas can you borrow from other companies?

The Personal MBA:
Master the Art of Business
– Josh Kaufman – 2010

Make value for others that they understand.

Make sure you find something people want and will pay for. If you can improve other people’s lives and they recognize this, you may be able to make a business out of it.

The key is to fill a want or need for customers who know they have that want or need. The want or need you are trying to satisfy must match what they believe. You must do more than simply providing a product that is useful.

Business, Product
Question: How can you use your unique skill set to create value for others?

Duct Tape Marketing:
The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide
– John Jantsch – 2007

Solve a problem for people that they already know exists.

Show your target audience you really understand their issues and have a solution. Focusing on solving known problems is easier than trying to convince them they need your product or service if they do not understand the problem it is trying to solve.

It is much easier to sell people something they want than change their minds. If you sell organic non-GMO dog food, target dog owners that care about organic non-GMO products in general. That is much easier than convincing people that do not buy organic products for themselves that they should buy them for their dog.

Business, Marketing, Product
Question: What problems can you solve for customers that are not solved somewhere else?

Growth Hacker Marketing:
A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing & Advertising
– Ryan Holiday – 2014

Build marketing into your product.

People traditionally build a product and then figure out how to market it. You can also build marketing into the product itself. Emails sent from an iPhone include the phrase “Sent from an iPhone”. Hotmail added a line to their email footers advertising “Free Email”, an uncommon practice at the time.

Business, Design, Marketing, Product
Question: How can you build marketing into your product?

The End of Business As Usual:
Rewire the Way You Work to Succeed in the Consumer Revolution
– Brian Solis – 2011

Keep up with your customers’ evolving wants and needs.

Customer needs change much faster than they did in the past and your product or service must keep up. We now live in a world where products are plentiful so you need to make sure your current version is exactly what the customer wants.

Business, Product
Question: How have customer expectations changed over the last 20 years?

The Lean Startup:
How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses
– Eric Ries – 2014

Use feedback to help make a product your customers want to use.

We must understand what the customer really wants and is willing to pay money for. Determine this as quickly as possible. Do not worry about all the bells and whistles. Instead, present the minimal viable product to prepare for improving your product. Build, measure, learn, repeat.

Business, Marketing, Product
Question: How can you use analytics programs to better understand and serve your customers?

Elon Musk:
Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
– Ashlee Vance – 2015

Elon is driven by missions he believes will come to fruition even if his business is not the one to do it.

Of course, we should not let rockets crash and remake them every time we go into space. Of course, electric cars are better[KH2] .

He may not be sure that his companies will succeed but he is confident that his ideas will be on the right side of history.

Business, Product, Technology
Question: What product or service do you believe will inevitably be produced, even if the related business is not yet here?

The Invisible Touch:
The Four Keys to Modern Marketing
– Harry Beckwith – 2009

People are not only buying a product at your store, they want a remarkable experience.

A product is more than a physical item. It is the entire experience associated with it. This can include how it is made, product hype and the buying experience itself. Apple puts a lot of money into its stores and even has patents for the way the package is designed and opened. While the store and the packaging do not have an impact how well an iPhone works, it is still part of the experience of owning one. When designing a product, designers can create more than just the physical object. They can work on the entire experience associated with the product including how it is purchased, what people think about the brand and how others will react to the item.

Business, Marketing, Product
Question: Name a memorable brand experience.

Small is the New Big:
And 183 Other Riffs, Rants and Remarkable Business Ideas
– Seth Godin – 2007

Personalize the experience whenever possible.

In the new world, where consumers—not products—are the scarce resources, products must be more personal if they are to stand out. Do not waste people’s time with generic marketing and product experiences.

Business, Marketing, Product
Question: What can you do to personalize your product?

Meatball Sundae:
How New Marketing Is Transforming the Business World (and How to Thrive in It)
– Seth Godin – 2010

Remarkable products and services are easier to market.

By making your product so remarkable that people talk about it, you are building the marketing right into it. Making it stand out from the crowd will save you money on other forms of marketing, promotions, and advertising.

Business, Marketing, Product
What can you incorporate into a product or service you are working on to help it market itself?

The Amazon Way on IoT:
10 Principles for Every Leader from the World’s Leading Internet of Things Strategies
– John Rossman – 2016

Products are only useful if they solve a problem.

The Internet of things will provide us with diverse types of communication between devices and allow us to do many new and interesting things. As designers build these new devices, they must start with customer needs instead of simply adding features because they are possible. Consider what the users want out of your product, not what the new technology can do.

Business, Design, Product, Technology
Question: Which new innovations are interesting but seldom used because no one wants them?

What Would Google Do?:
Reverse-Engineering the Fastest Growing Company in the History of the World
– Jeff Jarvis – 2011

Lowering the barrier to entry can improve networks.

The power of networks is often in the number of people using them, therefore they are more powerful when they are free. Instead of charging for entry, social networks and marketplaces make money through marketing the customer as the product for advertisers, selling other items or premium memberships. Having a low barrier for entry allows more people access to a network often causing the network to be more useful for everyone.

Business, Marketing, Product
Question: What can you provide for free while still making money in some other way?