Do You Know How Much Work Goes into Making Products?

Land Rover LR3My business puts me in an interesting position. I’m in contact with manufacturers, wholesales, distributors and retailers. I get to see all sides of the coin (or coins in this case). One thing that fascinates me is how much work goes into developing and designing products. Recently, I heard that one of Microsoft’s product design gurus started teaching a class at Harvard Business School on product development and launched a new blog focusing mainly on technology products. Just reading the first post or two, you see how complicated this process is and how much work goes into it. This reminded me of something interesting that happened to me a few years ago… I’ve owned a few Land Rovers. I like the car and have found it durable and reliable. I got a call that said I was eligible for a full fare trip to England to participate in a market research study for the company. So I went (why not?). I was amazed at the process that went into making a new car. You’d think that people have been building cars for a hundred years or so and that the process would be pretty straightforward. But the people I talked to at Land Rover were seriously interested in what I thought about vent placement, bumpers, seats, shifters, steering wheels and many other components of the car that I took for granted. This was their job – to make a better car. And they were smart and good at it. It was a great experience to be on the other side and sit in the seat of the product designers and developers. It really made me think about all the things we buy that we mostly take for granted. I returned with a new appreciation for the whole process. Of course, marketing, advertising, sales, competition and all the other things that go into making a successful product were not really mentioned. That stuff is somebody else’s job – and, as we all know, all the parts need to work to have a “successful” product. But next time you see a “new” product that you actually like that works well or looks good – give a nod to the product development team. What do you think makes a great product? What makes a bad one? I’m always happy to hear from people reading this…Drop me a line at ryan@dva.com

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