Wednesday, September 02, 2009

How to make the number one product?

Everyone knows it sucks to be No. 2, as not only No. 1 is at least 100% better than No. 2, no one remember No. 2.

How to create a number one product? According to a pretty "boring" presentation by Joel Spolsky at Business of Software 2008 on being number one:
  1. How to make people happy
  2. Obsess over aesthetics
  3. The Culture Code (or Emotion attachment)

How to make people happy? Rather than the computer or software telling the user what to do, the user should have control on what they want to do. Don’t force them to install updates or restart computer, or go through a wizard of 10 steps. The user needs to feel in control and do exactly what they intend to do. Don't bother them with technical and administrative details.

Obsess over aesthetics.
Basically things need to look super cool and nice. Decoration might be non-functional, but people like it. People don’t pay top dollar for a powerful and ugly car. Your product need to looks much prettier and cooler than the competition.

The Culture Code.
Why is OS X cooler than Windows? Why Ruby had more passion than Python? Why do you feel safer in a truck vs. a sedan, while the truck is higher (less stable, more prone to rollover) and heavier (higher impact and less control)? The product needs to portray a certain feelings, be it simplicity, power or safety.

How do we compete in the market which is already crowded with hundreds or even thousands of similar products? Does the product with the cheapest price or best functionality wins? How do we know which one is actually better? Besides words of mouth, probably the product which looks pretty, simple and happy would win.

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