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James Hong

Sunday, February 04, 2007

On designing products

I just posted something to our company's internal blog that I think is worth sharing here.

Living in Silicon Valley, it's common to see people getting excited about technology. That's what brought us all here, after all. But it's easy for people here to start thinking that technology is all that is needed to make a good product, and that simply isn't true.

Here's what I wrote:

"It’s important for us to always remember when designing our product that none of us are the average user. In order to create good products that everyone can use, we have to step outside ourselves and put ourselves in the minds of others, to empathize with the average person. The best products in the world are created by smart people who can think like an average person, and not like an elite techie (or elite media person). "

I believe it is an actual skill, one that can be developed, to put yourself in another person's mind. If you'd like to develop it at HOTorNOT, we are hiring

PS I don't call others "average people" to act like i'm better in any way.. I just recognize that my friends tend to be uber geeky, and are clearly not normal.. Whether we're different in a good way remains to be seen :) That being said, I still watch MTV more than any other channel.. and love it.


Blogger john dodds said...

Hi James,

Back in the early days of Hotornot, we occassionally swapped emails so it was fascinating to see you in action on the Guy Kawasaki panel and this led me to your blog.

I thought the fascinating thing about the panel was the way marketing was identified with promotion when it is in my mind much more than that and starts with product design in the broadest sense.

Guy has been generous enough to link to my blog in the past, so I couldn't work out if he was teasing the panellists about "marketing" but it struck me that what you all saw as bad or useless marketing was prescriptive "by the numbers" marketing and noone can argue with that.

But equally, you all showed yourself to be great intuitive marketers and this post about putting yourself in the average users mind and by implication, reacting to what they do rather than what they or marketing reseach says they will do is exemplary thinking and the essence of a true marketing mind. As is your company restructuring, in my opinion, because marketing is as much internal as it is external.

I've subscribed and look forward to learning more.

3:48 AM  

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