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3 Different Methods to Define amp; Build Awesome Products

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on March 25, 2012 at 2:12:03 pm
*3 Methods to Define & Build Awesome Products*
Presenter: Mike Harding
follow: @mah1

Session 1 - 10 AM
NoteTaker: Kyle Warneck (@KyleWarneck)

Standing room only - And tons of folks pouring out the door into the hallway.
Note to firemarshall: that's not true
Not to everyone else: No really, it's packed

h3. Why are there so many bad products?
* Microsoft's BOB
* The ISmell (Smell the internet!)
* Xervac
* Chest hair toupee
* Edsel
* New coke
* color.com (great team- no actual product idea)
* Santa Dreidel (Facepalm!)
*Serious thought, money and PM methodology went into these products*

h2. 3 approaches for building products

h3. Approach 1: Best imaginable product
* Peter Wilton (Haas lecturer)
** satisfied customers irrelevant.  Loyal customers invaluable
* *Start with a blank sheet of paper and imagine the best imaginable experience*

ex. Airtravel for business
** trips suck
** jetBlue tries to adress has emphasized in seat entertainment as a way to improve the experience
But are they best imaginable???
** but what ae travelers trying to accomplish?
best imaginable experience is probably not to have to travel at all!

ex. PowerPoint
* the tool is a big distraction (crashed on Mike last night)
* but the goal is communication and that's important

h3. Approach 2: Design as a product

Book: Design is How It Works by Jay Green
recommended read by Mike
Example: the *Ace Hotel*
* identified segment that is cost sensistive and community motivated
* heard people complain about the lack of options in downtown seattle
* Came up with the feel for the hotel. Took photos of other hotels as inspiration and treated hotel as a movie
* each room is distinct and furnished with vintage stuff (lean!)
** room w/ bunkbed and no restroom for $75 - perfect for the kids
** put record player and records in room - customers loved it - began bidding up price of those rooms

But Ace had some failures too
* Ace bought a vintage work table and had a furniture maker mass produce replicas
** the resutl was not awesome- hugely expensive fail
** They scrapped all the tables and then reassembled tables from the scraps

Question from audience:  Is this design driving or really knowing a demographic?
Mike's answer:
* yes, but they started with a purpose and then came up with the look/feel
* and they're pulling customers from outside their demographic

Question: what about apple? don't they do this?
Answer: Highlighted apple brand loyalists in the room

Question: what was their process?
We don't know

Question: wasn't this really price point driven? Vintage is cheap?
* but got to price by going in a different direction

*Ace outfit's hotel for $15,000 per room vs industry standard $40,000 per room*

Question: but what about the labor cost of finding cool buildings and old vintage stuff?
* definite question about scalability

Audience member notes: NYC rooms start at $300 - $400
Mike says the Seattle one was <$100, but somewhat minimalist

h3. Self as a customer

example: Mike's time leading a business unit at Juniper during reorg in 2011 and started looking for new gig
looking at his resume - thought the format felt archaic

*As a hiring manager, what do I want to see?*
** treat resumes as a chronological list of lies
** used only to disqualify people- not to pick who he wants
* looks for 3 things:
** skills
** passion
** fit w/ culture
*and traditional resume doesn'tanswer those questions*

Mike partners with a designer and makes a personal infographic
and he got a gig and a positive response
met with Stephen Years to do this without a designer and create re.vu

Survey of HR pro's:  Yuck, breaks my tools! (but I'd contact anyway)
* lots of feedback like this
* disintermediates HR - connects candidate with hiring manager
Candidates: say "when can I get it"
Hiring managers: " a breath of fresh air"

Entered 59  days of code comp- and they won!
Launched Re.Vu in Sept 2011.
tens of thoussands of users today (in 6 months!)
Between Jan 2012 - March 2012 increased users 2.5 times

more examples of self as customer:
* Mint.com
** design as product approach
** 1/10th of quicken features - but Mint does the work for you
* Electric power production - internoch (sp?)
** Rewards clients for conservation-  as if they were producing the power, but without having to build a plant
* Angie's list
* experiment to clean salton sea
*** used shrimp famring as test procedure
*** became a successful shrimp farming business
* Jazzercise
* nest - thermostat
** honeywell explored years ago and decided not to pursue
** nest is selling like crazy

h3. conclusion
*Escape* from normal mode
get *perspective*
*Succeed* - create awesome projects


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