Monday, May 7, 2012

Book Review of Tuned In.

This was a nice primer on being end-user or customer-oriented with respect to product development. Perhaps its greatest impact is to discourage people from ideating without real end-user data and reinforce the need to get out into the world and understand the people you are ultimately trying to sell to.

My favorite quote from the book is "Your opinion, although interesting, is irrelevant." The authors advocate using this phrase in any meetings where you and your colleagues are dreaming up what the market needs, in the absence of actual end-user data. I have started to use this phrase, and I find that my colleagues are relieved to learn that they are not expected to dream up the next big product alone.

I would particularly recommended this to my colleagues who are less familiar with end-user ethnography, as a good overview of why it matters. For example, if you have cross functional teams with R&D, operations, purchasing, finance - you could suggest they read this book to understand where great product ideas come from and what you do every day when they are not around.

The language is simple and the writers present a six step approach to developing a product that truly resonates in the market. Their six steps are straightforward - Find Unresolved Problems, Understand Buyer Personas, Quantify the Impact (of solving the problem), Create Breakthrough Experiences, Articulate Powerful Ideas, and Establish Authentic Connections. They all revolve around listening to the buyers, developing solutions that will be compelling to buyers and communicating in a way that buyers will understand.

For those of us who are responsible for uncovering spoken and silent needs in the market, it leaves you wanting more explanation on best practices for end-user research. But there are other books that focus on these activities.

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