You know you have created a good product when people feel they can’t live without it, and when it is taken away from them they feel like their universe is falling apart!
Our smart phones are the perfect example of that. I was on my way to speak at a High School District Conference today to several hundred 8th grade girls at the “You Go Girls!” conference that exposes young ladies to STEM Careers. As I got out of my car it happened – it felt like it was happening in slow motion, like a bad ‘B movie’ scene. I saw my new Apple iPhone 7 (with its 256 Gigs in the jet black shiny color that was impossible to get!) slip from my hand and down toward the asphalt parking lot below…“Noooooooooo” the little voice in my head screamed. In slow motion my arm thrust out toward the falling phone to try and catch it…but it was beyond my reach. Then I heard that earth shattering sound of the screen cracking. There it lay, face down on the pavement, lifeless before me. I bent down to pick it up and flip it over to see just how bad the damage was, silently praying that maybe a miracle had occurred and the screen wasn’t actually cracked. I held my breath and I am certain my heart temporarily stopped while the phone was turning around….and then suddenly my heart sank….the screen was completely cracked. The voice in my head cried out, “Why????….Why did this have to happen?!?! I NEED my phone today!!! I can’t survive without it!!!!”
As dramatic as that might have sound, I know dang well that nearly every single person reading this article right now knows exactly what I was feeling, because you yourselves have felt that exact same thing when your phone has dropped and cracked, or when it fell into a toilet, or dropped into the water, or just died for no reason at all…it literally feels as though your entire world is going to be ruined until that phone is repaired or replaced and back safely in your hands again. There is a genuine panic questioning how life can go on without an operating cell phone!
That is how dependent we have become on our mobile devices! Our entire lives are wrapped up in that device. We are dependent on it for both verbal and written communication with others, we are dependent on it to know our schedules for the day, our driving directions to the locations we need to be, our banking, our music, our relationships with our friends and family (without it we would have no clue when their birthdays were, what they ate for lunch today or what their face would look like if it was swapped with ours…we would know nothing about anyone!), and let’s not forget the fact that without it we would be completely incapable of catching Pokemon! We simply cannot survive without our phones! Or so it feels…
And that my friends is how you know you have created a good product. It all comes down to creating something that people genuinely believe they simply cannot live without.
After I finished my talk this morning I immediately headed to the Apple Store to try and be there as the doors opened. They agreed to take me as a walk-in after a 45 minute wait. When they finally called my name they looked at the phone they let me know that they don’t have the ability to fix the iPhone 7 onsite yet and that it would take 3 to 5 days for them to get the replacement phone in to the store. 3 to 5 days?! There is no way I could possibly go 3 to 5 days without a phone! It was unthinkable. “There must be another option,” I insisted. They explained that the only option in the meantime would be for me to buy another brand new iPhone 7 for full price of $850.00, activate that one, and use that until my replacement jet black iPhone could get here with the new screen. Then I could switch back and just keep the new phone I bought as a backup phone or try and sell it on eBay.
Steve Jobs once said, “If you focus on really great products then the profits will follow.” I just spent $850.00 for a second phone that I will literally only be using for 3 to 5 days. I think it is safe to say that when it comes to creating a great product, Apple nailed it!
PS. It just so happens that Tim Cook, CEO of Apple will be speaking at a dinner I am attending tomorrow night so yeah…that should be fun!
~Amy Rees Anderson
Ooooooo Amy. That is sad. I probably would have opted for the cheapest used smart phone in stock, but Oh. My. Goodness. You nailed it with your description of how entrenched our lives have become in one tiny vessel of our life. Everything is contained in that phone. I would love to be a fly on the wall when you and Tim Cook share conversation over dinner.