Thoughts on Producing and Marketing Complex Products

Lately I’ve been perusing message boards and blogs on the G1 phone. There is a tremendous debate among users as to their satisfaction levels. This, along with my own dissatisfaction with Microsoft Vista, led me to do some thinking. I think it might be impossible for companies with complicated products to produce products that will satisfy every one of their customers.

Take for example Vista. I hate it. Why? Because XP was easy to navigate and find files, folders, programs, etc. So why mess with it? I think, and I might be wrong, that Microsoft modeled Vista and produced it with a heavy slant towards users who want a {buzzword alert} rich multimedia experience. I think the casual user, like me, was left out. And my frustrations are some very basic things, like folder structure. Suddenly I had to click 3 times where it used to take me one click.

Now take the G1. I’m a Google addict. I use almost every one of their products and services. So going with the G1 was a no brainer. In my opinion, Is the G1 perfect? No. But it met my basic expectations.

This brings me to the message boards and blogs. It seems G1 users are divided into pretty distinct camps that range from the extremely technical to the very casual. You have Android fans that don’t mind using the phone with a beta mindset to more casual users who demand a finished product.

Who’s right and who’s wrong? Can Google/HTC/Tmobile produce something to satisfy everyone? Consider the phone is being judged by the following:

1) Phone service
2) Text messaging
3) E-mail client
4) Web Browser
5) MP3 Player
6) Camera
7) Everything else from GPS maps to games, the list is endless.

I do take exception to a few notions. The phone is/was marketed to the general public, so the notion that customers should put up with bugs/annoyances to me is an unreasonable response to complaints. Also, a LOT of advice on both the G1 and Vista require technical modifications. This does not suit a less technically savvy user or those who don’t have the time or desire to tinker.

How does a company take all of these considerations and produce a product that’ll be widely accepted? Do they just aim for the middle?


  1. I dunno, I think VISTA is growing on me. If you just get used to it- finding files on the CPU is easier. Of course, coupled with Google Desktop it’s amazing.

    Same with my iPhone. Just gotta get used to it, or I guess you may view it as “settling” for what we are given.

    Note: I think there’s a “Windows 7” or some weird thing like that coming out: it solves all VISTA issues you might have.

  2. I hear you. I guess it’s not so bad. I’m getting to the you can’t teach old dog new tricks age. Or better yet, the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” age. XP was fine for me. Vista might not be THAT bad, but it’s definitely not better. My question is really, who do the developers have in mind when they develop a product? It’s impossible to satisfy everyone. Especially with products that’ll be judged on a lot of different criteria by users who value the criteria much differently.

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