Guy Kawasaki spoke at the Lean StartUp Week in San Francisco last November in a talk entitled “The Lessons of Steve Jobs”. Guy is currently the Chief Evangelist for online graphic design software Canva. In his presentation he reminds us of the Steve Jobs quote, which always makes me think of the Henry Ford quote. And yes, there are those who do not believe Henry Ford ever actually said it; “there is no eveidence”
Steve Jobs: “A lot of times people don’t know what they want until you show them”
Henry Ford: “If we asked people what they wanted they would have said “faster horses””
I believe that what Steve Jobs and Henry Ford said is even more true today than it was when they said it.
Based on this I have one request: Please stop asking me what I want. As a customer I just want to be told how my life will be easier. I want you to show me how I can save time. Please take away all that decision-making. Every business course, marketing course, entrepreneurship course talks about “value adds” for the client and customer. The “value adds” are generally listed as save time, reduce waste, save money, make money, ease pain or suffering and bring increased emotional benefit.
What Jobs and Ford are saying is: focus on creating products and services that solve the “value adds” and you don’t need to ask your customers anything. You already know what your customers want, all you have to do is show them how what you do provides value to them.
I’m saying: Please stop asking me what I want. When you ask me to think about your products and services all I can think of is “faster horses”. Just last week I took delivery of a new stand up desk and the owner of the business called to ask me how it was going? “Great, certainly looks nicer the the polystyrene box I’ve been using for years” – “How could we improve it?” – “Maybe a little bit smaller?” I’ll bet for every “little bit smaller” he had equal number of customers saying “little bit bigger”
It’s all just “faster horses”
I don’t really think of myself as an innovator or a disruptor, I’m not sure I’m even really an early adopter, I’m more of an “early majority” sort of person. When I see some thing that is working for others and I can see how it would work for me, I’m in boots and all. I make relatively few purchases. However:
I didn’t know I needed an iPhone – none of us did – and now I cannot imagine life without it.
I didn’t know I needed a soda stream. This is up there with my iPhone. I love my soda stream because I can have sparkly water every day without the guilt – of adding thousand of plastic bottles into waste and recycling.
I didn’t know I needed a Dyson vacuum cleaner. With 3 cats the Dyson is a must have.
I certainly didn’t know I needed Hello Fresh. I absolutely did know that the 3 words I most dreaded were “What’s for dinner?”
I most definitely didn’t know I needed a Tesla car and who would have thought I’d need a Tesla battery …. thank you Elon Musk.
Trust me I’ll buy anything if it really helps me out and I’m guessing most of you reading this feel about the same?
Just please stop asking me to be on your informal design team and if you ask me “what else do you want?” my answer will only ever be a version of some sort of “faster horse”
When businesses ask customers “What do you want?” I’m guessing all they ever really get is just more of the “faster horses”.
Maybe I’m just a being super sensitive this week after listening to Guy Kawasaki’s comments about it being the role of business to show clients what they want. I do feel as a client, customer, consumer that I am asked way too often about what I need and what I want.
What do you think? I’d love to know.
I’m Ingrid Thompson and thank you for reading this post.
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