It’s not us, it’s them
I Skyped with Adam Clark the other day. We’re both planning on launching new products in 2014. He’s launching a WordPress theme built specifically for churches under the Lift Themes banner and I’m planning on releasing another book plus a software product for dev teams.
(Sidebar: I like chatting with Adam: he has a warm, inviting quality that makes you feel like you’re sitting on his back-porch, sipping sweet tea in Tennessee.)
It wasn’t long into our conversation that some of our insecurities started to come out:
“How would a failed launch affect my reputation on the net?”
“What would my peers think of me launching this?”
“I understand I need to connect with my audience, but I’d rather blog about things that are easy.”
Then we stopped. We realized we’d been chatting about ourselves a lot. What wasn’t getting as much attention? Ahem – how about our customers? You know: the people who might actually shell out their hard earned cash for the wares we might produce?
Me, me, and more of me
I regularly get questions from people looking to build products. When I ask them: “Who are the people you’re going to serve?” I get blank stares. We all spend way too much time thinking about “our idea”, “our design”, “our code”, and “our dreams” … but not nearly enough time thinking about “our customer”.
Building great products is not about “us” – it’s about “them”.
“Evolution does not favour selfish people”
writes BBC science reporter Melissa Hogenboom.
This is also true for product development: if you build a product that’s “all about you”, you’ll find you’re the only one who cares about the darned thing. But, if you build a product “all about them”, there’s a greater chance that “they” will care.
Who are you going to serve?
Our culture celebrates self-centeredness. To build great products, we’re going to need to re-align ourselves to a different paradigm: it’s not about us, it’s about them.
Here are the questions you need to ask:
- Which group of people are you best suited to help?
- Can they afford to pay you for your help?
- What do they really need?
I’ll be covering this topic in more detail in a future post (you can subscribe here, and get notified as soon as I publish it).
There are so many great thinkers talking about this right now. Here are a few selections from Clayton Christensen, Amy Hoy (this too), and Brennan Dunn on the topic.
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