Guy Kawasaki Gets It: Customers Rarely Know What They Want Until They Have It
Love, friendships, relationships, encounters. The human moments of discovery are the engines of product innovation. You don’t know what you want until you have it, and you can’t make something new until you have a human experience of discovery with something that either shows you what you lack, or presents you with something new you can build off.
You have to have that wow moment. The hyper focus on Apple these days shows us that fanatic followings result from people taking care to make things that humans really need.
Here’s a gem from Guy Kawasaki. On the weekend after Steve Jobs passed away, he lists some of the lessons he learned from the Apple founder.
He picks out consumers as being clueless. We say this all the time at The Re-Wired Group, only we think they are being asked the wrong questions, and being marketed to in ineffective ways. they are also being introduced to the wrong information, or they lack a real experience with the product being advertised.
This is why we say at the Re-Wired Group that, as consumers, advertising normally misses the point. It does not really offer an experience with a brand, because an experience with a brand is about touching, holding, using and “hiring” the product being branded.
Most branding seeks to give you a narrative about the product before you even have a chance to “hire” it, or to know what it really does for you.
It is fundamental: the use of a product is a social and emotional experience that cannot occur until the choice has actually been made.
Kawasaki shares the same sentiment, when he writes that customers rarely know what they want until they have it:
2. Customers cannot tell you what they need
“Apple market research” is an oxymoron. The Apple focus group was the right hemisphere of Steve’s brain talking to the left one. If you ask customers what they want, they will tell you, “Better, faster, and cheaper”—that is, better sameness, not revolutionary change. They can describe their desires only in terms of what they are already using—around the time of the introduction of Macintosh, all that people said they wanted was a better, faster, and cheaper MS-DOS machine. The richest vein for tech startups is creating the product that you want to use—that’s what Steve and Woz did.
He almost has it, but I would stress that a consumer really doesn’t know anything about the product until after he uses it. Steve Jobs used his own product. He demonstrated every iteration the teams came out with, publicly.
But it was not all Jobs. To keep building, and to build a new game, rather than a revision on sameness, Jobs had to have people better than himself, like the best designer in the world, Jonathan Ive. People like Ive are geniuses, but if you watch this video, you realize that it’s not all a gift that makes the ability to make a product people love possible. Ive had a personal experience with a Macintosh that showed him what he was missing, and set him on a career path that gave us the iPod, the iMac and dozens of other revolutionary products.