March 16, 2005

ETech day 3: Why is the iPod so popular?

Brad Pitt or Ian Somerhalder?
Julia Roberts or Sandra Bullock?
Apple iPod or Creative whatnot?

Figuring out what the number two product is missing versus the number one product is difficult. The #2 product may objectively be better, but still be #2. Three rules:-

  • Make people happy
    Never underestimate how happy people are when things Just Work™

  • Think about emotions
    Give people ways to be in control of their environment (eg. Amazon checkout process which lets you supply info or change settings in any order you want)

  • Obsess over aesthetics
    Aesthetics generate an emotional response and the the principle of misattribution causes people to conflate the response with other attributes of the thing in question. IPods sell more than other MP3 players because they look nicer and the emotional response this causes colours peoples' view of every aspect of the device.

In possibly the most elegant way to end a presentation I've ever seen, Joel, who had liberally peppered his presentation with jokes, sight gags and music, noted that he was obeying exactly the principle which he was enumerating; remember the jokes, get a good feeling, leave with the impression that this was a great presentation.


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