The job of product management is to design *with* the customer in mind, not *what* the customer had in mind.
— Aaron Levie (@levie) April 21, 2013
The story below is from the book at the top of my recommendations list – This is Earl Nightingale. Pick it up if you can find it and afford it (unfortunately it’s out of print and currently over $400 on Amazon.)
“A young woman pianist once gave a performance to a large group of women. Afterward, a woman approached her and told her she’d ‘give anything to play like you do.’
The pianist looked up from the keys and said ‘Oh no you wouldn’t!’
As you can imagine a hush fell over the group and the woman squirmed with embarrassment. Again she repeated, ‘I would, too, give anything to play the piano as you do.’
The pianist shook her head, ‘No, you wouldn’t.. If you would, you could play as well as I do, possibly better, possibly a little worse. You’d give anything to play as I do except time… except the one thing it takes. You wouldn’t sit and practice, hour after hour, day after day, year after year.’ Then she smiled brightly, ‘I’m not criticizing. I’m just telling you that when you say you’d give anything to play as I do, you really don’t mean it. You really don’t mean it at all.’
People are forever saying ‘I’d give anything…’ but the fact remains that they don’t, they give very little, often nothing, to do the things they say they would give anything to do..”
First off, what a cold bi#ch.
But, it’s true. The lesson here is that we could achieve what we say we wanted – if we wanted it badly enough to put in the effort. But often, we don’t want things badly enough to make the necessary sacrifices. What have you been claiming you want but have done nothing to accomplish it?
Secondly, there’s an important human behavior fact here for marketing and product folks to remember: People don’t always want what they say they want or buy what they say they’d buy.