Defining a good product

I love my IPhone! Remember when it was introduced about 2 years ago? The IPhone taught us what we can do with a mobile device and redefined what we can do with a smart phone. It was all about what you can do with it. What you can do with a product is largely defining what you buy. The more things you can and will do with a product excites you to purchase, not only an IPhone but pretty much any other product as well.

Lately the discussion around the IPhone is changing. When you read current newsletters, magazines and even TV commercials, the discussion is turning towards what you cannot do. Here is an (incomplete) listing of stuff you cannot do on the IPhone:

- You cannot do Skype Calls
- You cannot select your cell phone provider
- You cannot Tether (connect your phone as a modem to your computer)
- You cannot run Adobe Flash Websites
- You cannot run multiple applications at once (except those that Apple is designating, such as the ipod app)

This is of course a weakness that is attacked on all fronts, from the “Droid Does” campaign to “there is a map for that” commercials. The discussion around the IPhone is turning negative, it is enticing consumers to look at other devices that do the things the IPhone does not do.

What people easily forget is what the product does. It does provide a great browser experience, has plenty of applications, and just works. Especially the applications are very strong and highly integrated into the overall Apple platform. Don’t forget, the IPhone is not just a smart-phone, it comes embedded into a large commercial infrastructure called iTunes, which is not only about tunes anymore. It is an eco-system for all kinds of media and software applications.

Interesting enough, people behave the same way when they look at their business applications they use on an ongoing bases. People are inclined to believe that their current computer system ‘sucks’. They look at the things the system cannot do, they would like it to do, but do not really appreciate what it can do.

If people use this as a foundation for evaluating software, they will realize, unfortunately after they bought it, that the new system does not some of desired features the old software was missing, but does not do the stuff the old system did so well.

A good quality (software) product is defined as its ability to do the things the user/consumer wants to do with it. We should never be distracted with the negatives, with the stuff you cannot do, but worry for the most part on what we want to do and can do with a product. Some of the features, as critically discussed as they are, do not matter for most of us. They distract us from the issues and coax us into buying something new that may or may not be better. At least one thing is good about this: It keeps the economy humming.

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One Response to Defining a good product

  1. Pingback: Bolting on! « Observations about Technology

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