Users Don't Care If YOU Are the Best

🧑‍🎨 Creator(s)
🗓️ Publish Date
May 2, 2005
📚 Publisher(s)

🗃️ Archival copy:

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I know I'm preaching to the choir here, so this is directed at the people who aren't reading this but should:

Your users don't care about how fabulous you are. How fast your product is. How many awards you've won.

If we want to inspire our users, we have to care about how fabulous they are. How fast they are. How many awards they might win as a result of using our products or services.

That's what sociologists, psychologists, and cognitive scientists tell us. It's what biologists and anthropologists tell us. Self-interest is hard-wired into the brain. That doesn't mean people aren't capable of thinking of others...but let's face it--when your user makes a list of the people he cares most about, you're not in the top ten.

We've talked about this in other blogs including Users shouldn't think about YOU, andHow to create a non-fiction bestseller, but since it's my favorite theme, here I am again.

Because I just keep wondering why so many advertisers/marketers/companies/individuals keep promoting how great they are... how they are better than the competition, blah blah blah, rather than focusing on how important the user is, and better still... how this product or service will enhance the user's life.

And we're not talking some Big Important Deep Cosmic Spirtual Thing. Software developers, teachers, designers, car salespeople... we all have a chance to frame what we build and do in terms of how it helps the user kick ass.

Here's what we wish employers and prospective clients would say to the person or company they're considering:

"Quit telling us how great you are, and start telling us how you plan to deliver something that helps the user become greater."

Or..."We care about the lives you touch. We want first-person testimonials. We want to hear from the guy who got a raise because of what he learned from your blog. We want to hear from the woman who laughed so hard coffee came out of her nose because of your game. We want to hear from the couple who found a shared interest because of your product."

But again, it doesn't have to be anything earth-shattering. Think about the seemingly little things a company's product or service has done for you like... Made you smile. Made you feel--and be--a little smarter. Made you catch your breath over the beauty, quality, or sexiness of the product (or hell, even just the coolness of the package... anyone who's kept their iPod box beyond any possible reason knows what I'm talking about). Helped you take--or digitally alter--or display--a photograph that makes your child look as happy as you knew he was when you took the shot. Made you look like a million bucks (sorry Hugh, I meant quid). Helped you become just a shred more passionate about something you love. Better yet, helped you become passionate about something you didn't even know you liked.

So... who have you helped kick ass today?

Perhaps more importantly, for you passionate-user-creators, how are you making sure that you can hear about it? What can you do--or what can you ask your employer or clients to do--so that you can capture some of those testimonials? So many of those company feedback forms make me want to throw up because they're all about the company! The ideal feedback form would try anything possible to get the user/evaluator to talk about himself. So the next time an employer tells an employee what the users/customers think about the company or product or service, I'd love to see that employee respond with something like, "That means nothing to me. Tell me what the customer feels about himself as a result of our company..." Right. ; )