Where unforgettable products come from

When I started to create my first product, from the ground up, I was really surprised by how difficult it was. I’d been running my software consulting company for years, building web applications for clients like MIT and Greenpeace International, and I thought I could do much better creating my own products from the ground up.

But when I stood there with a blank slate, trying to design a product that could really be anything, it was hard. Really hard. What’s in, what’s out? What should it be? How should it be? What is its attitude? It was a very humbling experience

What I learned over time was how important it is to have a strong vision for the product. A clear feeling for what this product wants to become. It led me to the belief that a product has a soul. Some core essence, just like a human being or a dog or any other living thing has a soul. Something that we can sense into using our intuition, to discover what that soul is about, what this product wants to become.

A product is much more than the lines of code that makes it up. Steve Jobs talked about how certain products could be infused with a certain “spirit of enlightenment”, a certain energy or vibration that people would be able to perceive, consciously or unconsciously, and which would impact them.

I believe this is so true. I believe that we’re really channeling the soul of the product, we’re serving it. It’s mutually beneficial, of course. But when we’re at our best, is when we’re channeling that energy into reality in our three-dimensional world as faithfully as possible. Our personality will shape it - our language, our culture, our likes and dislikes, our history, our experiences, our talents and skills, our idiosyncrasies. All of that will impact the product. But it will still be carrying that essence, that vibration, that soul energy, through the end.

I think that’s what differentiates the products that really touch us and connect with us and that we consider truly great, from the merely functional, or downright forgettable.

Check out this TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert, where she talks about where art (and entrepreneurship is a form of art) comes from

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If this resonates with you, join me on March 27 for a meetup in New York. If you’re not in New York, share it with your network anyway … maybe it’ll spread to others who are in New York.


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