Captain’s log, stardate 20181129

Follow-up re: tuba

Sent by Jonathan Stark on December 1st, 2018

Thanks to everyone who replied to yesterday’s message (subject: Where do I put the tuba?)

Several people brought up questions that centered around products and productized services. I’ll summarize them all like so:

Since my product/productized service is pre-defined and therefore isn’t customized on a per client basis, isn’t that inherently solution-first?

Well... maybe, maybe not. It’s not a question of customization. It’s a question of empathy.

I would call an offering solution-first if:

On the other hand, I would NOT call an offering solution-first if:

In the Subaru Outback example from yesterday, there are at least three places where solution first thinking can creep in:

Even if the car was designed a team who took a customer-centric (i.e., not solution-first) approach, the sales team could still try to sell the car to a marching band director (i.e., solution-first).

In a big organization, you would want to align all the departments on a customer-centric (i.e., problem-first) approach.

If you are a soloist or a small shop, you won’t have a problem with cross-departmental alignment.

However, you still could lose your way after a customer-centric design phase and slip into solution-first marketing and/or sales if you get desperate for cash flow or otherwise have some crisis of faith.

Here’s the thing...

At every stage (e.g., design, marketing, sales), always be thinking of the customer first. Constantly be asking yourself:

“How will this make my customer happier?”



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