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Not better, but different

 Peter     2012-05-19 13:29:20      4,542    1    0

The most important feature of Apple products is usability--Simple, aesthetic, easy to use.

Their products may not necessarily the most powerful, but they usually are the easiest to use. Following picture show a Mac (left) and a PC(right), which one looks better?

Many products are trying to mimic these features, but one problem comes out:

It's hard to keep a product simple while providing so many new features.

If you continuously add new features to your product,  your product will become more complex and it will be more difficult to use. If you put much effort on simplifying your product, then there will not be many features on your product, how do you compete with other similar products?

Every product manager will face this problem, for a new product, this problem is especially important, because it's hard for the new product to occupy market, the easiest solution is to add new features until the market notices it. But is this the right way?

Silicon Valley product manager Andrew Chen gave us the answer in one of his articles.

Don't compete on features. If your core concept isn’t working, rework the description of the product rather than adding new stuff.

Make sure you’re creating a product that competes because it’s taking a fundamentally different position in the market. If the market is full of complex, enterprise tools, then make a simpler product aimed at individuals. If the market is made up of fancy, high-end wines, then create one that’s cheaper, younger, and more casual. If the market is full of long-form text blogging tools, then make one that makes it easy to communicate in 140 character bursts. If computers are techy and cheap, then make one that’s human and more premium. These ideas are not about features, these are fundamentally different positions in the market.

What you should do is not to add new features, but to develop a product by taking a completely different market positioning.

Some possible strategies are :

  1. not better, just differently
  2. Rework the core of the experience and build a roadmap of new features that reflects the differentiated positioning. Avoid add-ons.
  3. bring your product's market positioning into the core of your product so that it’s immediately obvious to anyone using it

For more detailed explanations about, please read Andrew Chen's article.

Original author : 阮一峰 Source :





@mathurabhay [Reply]@ 2012-05-30 12:33:51
well said, adding features need not necessary means improving product. another good article in somewhat similer thought process by @annua


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