Last week I bought an Essential Phone, from the Essential company founded by Android creator Andy Rubin. I was interested in the phone when it was first announced because it looked really well built and had a delicious bezel-less screen.
If you disrupt and can’t sustain, you don’t win. – Gary Pisano
Disruptive innovations that throw industries into chaos hog the spotlight. We are all transfixed by Google’s Moonshot attempts at either changing transportation, how we interact with objects and people that we believe those are the only innovations that matter.
Academics and consultants like coming up with fancy ways of describing certain types of behaviors and outcomes, and when it comes to innovation incremental and radical are such they use to describe and compare between small plain-vanilla innovation and radical or disruptive innovation.…
Two weeks ago I wrote about the four signs that show that you have a culture of innovation. Well here’s another one:
A good sign that you’re innovating is when employees don’t ask for permission to do so. They just do it.
Apple is once again telling the world that it’s a User Experience company that just so happens to make consumer electronic products. Apple is reportedly working on a way to sync iPods with iTunes wirelessly. It’s just another step in Apple’s steady march toward making wires and cords a thing of the past.
A few days ago I was making room behind my desk for the laptop, external HDD and speaker wires. As I was rearranging I started pondering how long it would take until we live in a world without wires and who would take us there.
My first thought was Apple.
What I find interesting, is that if any other ‘consumer electronics company’ would set out to eliminate wires, it probably would not be a big deal. You kind of get the idea that if Microsoft would be the first to remove wires from our lives, that they would screw it up in some way. Therefore eliminating our excitement for the ‘new experience’.
Because we know Steve Jobs to be a perfectionist, we know and trust that Apple will deliver the goods. The new experience.
And we actually want Apple to be the one to do it. Not Microsoft. Not HP. Not Dell.
Because their reputation precedes them in the area of creating great consumer products that are as much about the experience we have as what we use them for. It is this reputation that sets them apart. It is now hardwired onto our brains that Apple creates the best consumer electronics products period.
Heck, some of us are starting to wish they should start making cars just for fun.
User experience is all about removing obstacles. Eliminating extra steps that don’t add any value. Apple is a user experience champion. They own it.
They’ve become the ‘most’ at delighting and exciting us with their products. This is key.
Like Fast Company founder, Bill Taylor, says:
You can’t be “pretty good” at everything anymore. You have to be the most of something: the most affordable, the most accessible, the most elegant, the most colorful, the most transparent. Companies used to be comfortable in the middle of the road — that’s where all the customers were. Today, the middle of the road is the road to ruin. What are you the most of?
With that said, we would all do well and learn from Apple and begin thinking about what we want to be known for. Because if we get to such a place, this is where Greatness is forged.
This post isn’t about Steve Jobs, it’s about emotion and how to create it with your product.
When I was a kid I would spend endless hours reading magazines at supermarkets or bookstores. From PC Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Game Pro, National Geographic, Road & Track, SLAM, you name it. At one point I had subscriptions to 15 different magazines that I got in the mail, my mom wasn’t too happy about it. And she also wasn’t happy because I kept them all well after I read them.
Out of all the magazines I read, the one’s I look more forward to reading were the ones about cars. I just loved (and still do) reading Road & Track’s car reviews because of how they described their car experience, I can still remember some of the words used in the review of the McLaren F1.
Words like: ‘staggering power’ when pushing the accelerator, ‘stratospheric’ when talking about horsepower, ‘opera-esque’ when describing the sound of the engine, ‘astonishing’ when describing the car…you get the picture. So what’s the big deal? Well the fact that I’m telling you about it today and remember it is telling. Emotions are hard to forget and even though I’ve never driven these cars, the vivid descriptions make me feel as though I almost did.
I know what you’re thinking, we already know benefits trump features. Yup, but how?
Jeremy Clarkson, host of Top Gear, is a like a little kid when talking about cars. It’s all emotion. Even if you aren’t a car fanatic you’ll love them after hearing Clarkson, just like in the video below where he drives the Ferrari Enzo. Tell me it doesn’t get your blood moving?
Did you notice how he mentions the word ‘focus’ to the describe how the car’s interior doesn’t distract you from driving? If you own and iPod, iPhone or iPad then you know what I mean. Steve Jobs is the master at creating emotions for Apple products. He makes it sound so genuine because his products satisfy him. So when he gives a keynote speech, he’s like a little kid talking to you about his new toy. Emotional!
Google did the same thing with Chrome. It’s laser focused on enabling us to browse the web faster. The user interface has only what’s necessary to browse and it makes you almost feel like the browser isn’t even there. That’s focus!
Another example I’ll give you to chew on is how Super Bike Magazine describes how the new Kawasaki ZX-10R ‘Ninja’ makes it’s driver feel: confident. Confident that you can get the best lap times and win the race. That’s what they really care about.
And with that last paragraph I get to the intent of this post: Focused products are more emotional. People don’t care about your products features, they care about what it does for them. And the way to do that is by making your product laser focused on satisfying that job.
In the Enzo’s case the job is driving, in the iPod’s case it’s carrying all your music in your pocket. They eliminated all the things that can ‘distract’ from satisfying that job.
Thoughts? Do you think products that are laser focused on satisfying a specific job more emotional?