35: People Don’t Care About Your Product
Dave: On this episode of Seeking Wisdom, we're going to talk about how to get more people to care about your product.
Speaker 2: Hiya.
Dave: All right. So, I wrote a post about this. This is a topic, it just comes up over and over, and so I wanted to do a little episode dedicated to this. So, basically, how to get more people to care about your product. The biggest mistake that people make when they build something, when they're marketing something, is assuming that people will care.
Speaker 2: They don't.
Dave: They don't. There's a great book by author named Steven Pressfield, and it's called Nobody Wants To Read Your Shit.
Speaker 2: That's my uncle right there.
Dave: That's your guy. And I wanted to do this episode because I think that's a mentality that can be applied to marketing, and sales, and product, and design. And, basically, anybody that listens to this podcast.
Speaker 2: Dave, tell them that title again
Dave: It's called Nobody Wants To Read Your Shit. Okay.
Speaker 2: Let that sink in.
Dave: Yeah. So that's the premise for this book. And that's also the premise for what we're going to talk about right now. And basically, it's human nature, you make something, you build something, you think," Man, this thing is going to be awesome." But we always forget to realize as people, that people are selfish.
Speaker 2: Dave, little question, though.
Dave: Hit me.
Speaker 2: Do you have any stats to back that up?
Speaker 2: Do you have any numbers?
Speaker 2: Have you tested this? crosstalk
Dave: I haven't tested it. I haven't split tested it.
Speaker 2: What? Oh man, I don't know how you can do this. crosstalk
Dave: You mentioned this because somebody replied to an email and they said," I love your emails. They're so welcoming and friendly and personal. But do you have any stats on how effective this is?"
Speaker 2: I'm talking like a human to humans.
Dave: I'm like isn't you replying to me, isn't that inaudible?
Speaker 2: That's the stat. Boom.
Dave: Yeah, no. So, there's this mentality, you build something and you think everybody's going to love it. And this is something that you've talked about a lot. Talk about your mentality on building products, this whole default to being wrong.
Speaker 2: Yeah. So, what you're talking about is something that happens to all of us, right? We think because we're inside our own head and we're either writing something, creating something, building a product, whatever it is, we know it so well that it all makes sense to us, but it might not make sense to anybody else out there. It may make sense to lots of people, but we should probably try to default, in my opinion, to accepting that we're wrong to some degree and whatever it is that we've created. And for writers, this does not come as a surprise because writing is a game of iterations, just like everything else. And so, there's drafts and copies and revisions and you're constantly working on that piece. And so, if you have that mindset, then you have basically the beginner's mind and you have this a way of thinking about what you're creating and thinking that maybe nobody cares about it. So let me get it outside into the world, get some feedback and see if anyone reacts to this piece.
Dave: Yeah. But the default is to not think that way, it's to think" This is going to be huge. We got to tell people about it." And then it flops and you're back to square one.
Speaker 2: Definitely. That's the default because we spend too long inside our heads, convincing ourselves how great of an idea this thing is, and haven't given it oxygen, haven't exposed it to the world to see if that's true.
Dave: Yeah. And I think one of the ways to counteract this is to, so A, I think, honestly, the biggest part, just understanding this. Is having this mentality that even though we're building something, nobody's going to care about this. And the thing that Pressfield mentioned, which I think is really smart, is thinking of it like an agency and the client.
Speaker 2: Okay.
Dave: And so the client is the person who's building the product and the agency is the team that's responsible for telling people about it. And in the ad world, the agency always pushes back on the clients as like," Hey, we have a pulse on the market. I don't know. People aren't really going to feel this way." But for whatever reason, internally, we don't think that way.
Speaker 2: No, no.
Dave: This is our thing.
Speaker 2: No, and this is everywhere that we look, whether it's in writing, whether it's in athletics, whether it's in creating a product, and even built into the kind of ethos behind martial arts. As you progress, as you get further along, having this mindset of being open and being kind of this beginner. Always keeping that beginner's mindset.
Dave: Yeah. Understanding that 99% of people don't care is the first step to getting people to care.
Speaker 2: Exactly. So then you start to focus on not your work, per se, but" How do I take this and solve someone else's problem with them?"," How do I make them interested in what I'm talking about?" And Dave thinks about this all day on the marketing side.
Dave: Yeah, what you just said was poetic. I can't wait to take this clip out, but you said it, it's empathy.
Speaker 2: Yes.
Dave: When you understand that nobody cares, then you have this empathy and you're just completely changing the mentality of how you're going to go about getting people to care.
Speaker 2: Yeah. Another way that we always talk about it internally here is that when we're building something it's like," Is this a company problem? Or is this a customer problem?" And most things that we get crazy about and spend a lot of time focused on is a company problem. I gave a talk yesterday at the business inaudible, and we talked about how to create a customer driven product team. And in it I talked about roadmaps and version numbers and all of this stuff that we get all twisted about and internal process as a product manager. But all of those things are company problems. The customer doesn't care, the customer should not care. The customer doesn't care about how your departments are laid out. The customer doesn't care about your version numbers. The customer doesn't care about your schedule. They shouldn't, it has nothing to do with them. The customer cares about themselves, because we are all selfish.
Dave: My favorite example of this that you mentioned in your talk is the credit card chip thing.
Speaker 2: Yeah. So, I started that talk by using this example of hearing that they were talking about chip cards, so the move from credit cards in the US to these EMV chips, I didn't know what EMV stood for until I Wikipediad it, and it's Europay, MasterCard, Visa kind of alliance. Yuck. Anyway, in Europe, they've had the chip card for the last decade or a little bit over a decade. In the US we've just rolled out these chip cards. And I use this as an example because all of us has felt the frustration of using these chip cards here. It's like twice as long, minimum.
Dave: Yeah, you stand in line at CVS for 10 minutes.
Speaker 2: 10 minutes. It hasn't been a hundred percent adopted so every time you go into Whole Foods, you go into this place," Is this a chip reader?"," No, not a chip reader. Swipe here, no chip." And it's just like, what the hell? But if you were to stand back as a product creator, a writer, anyone who creates, you say," Wait a second, what is this thing solving?". And the credit card issuers would say," Oh, we're solving a security problem. And so therefore you should be happy about this new chip reader and shouldn't mind waiting in line." But us, as consumers, say one of the main reasons that we pay the credit card companies to use their product is for the security that they say they bring. So security from a consumer standpoint is a credit card company problem, it's not my problem. So what they've done is this, what I call it, this transferring the problem. The credit card company has transferred the problem to the consumer and had them deal with the headache of having to deal with these chip cards. And I asked the room yesterday, a couple of hundred, probably 500 people that were there." How many people here think that with the rollout of this chip reader, that our credit card fees are going to go down because of enhanced security?"
Speaker 2: Nobody raised their hand. So the credit card companies are gaining from this, the issuers. So, in the case that they do get lower costs because of security issues, which is questionable, they benefit because they moved the problem to the consumer. So in all cases, the consumer is stuck with the problem, and this is the exact thing we need to think about. This analogy for what we do in terms of writing, in terms of creating, are we moving the problem, the burden, to the customer, to the end user? Or are we solving a problem?
Dave: Right. So, getting people to care about your product, step one is first understanding that people don't care.
Speaker 2: Yes.
Dave: Step two. This is the story that you just told, I think, which is step two, this is one of my favorite things, is you have to focus on the superpower that people will get from using your product.
Speaker 2: I love that. I love that.
Dave: And you know, I think our favorite line is from Bernadette Giwa, who we talk about all the time, she said," People don't care about what your product does. They care about what they can do with your products."
Speaker 2: That's it. So how does it make them feel super powered?
Dave: Exactly. And so once you understand that A, people don't care, B, it has to be about the superpowers. Then you're able to reframe the conversation. And so on the marketing side, this is something we think about all the time, because it's so easy to be like,"We've got these five new features. We got this, we got to go tell people about it." Okay?
Speaker 2: And this is why getting feedback and doing testing with people is so important because you might say," Oh, we have this paradigm shift thing strategy, with this product, you can do X, Y, Z." And then when you talk to people, when they repeat it back to you, they will just say something that's just so pedestrian. They'll just be like," Oh, I can save 10% off of this if I use your product. Okay, I'll use it because of that." And the importance there as a writer, as a product creator, is to learn, to hear those words and to use those words when you market your product.
Dave: Totally, here's the examples. Nobody goes shopping for a new microwave because they want another big aluminum box to plug in and put on their kitchen counter.
Speaker 2: Nope.
Dave: They want hot food.
Speaker 2: Fast.
Dave: Quickly. And this is the thing that a lot of people don't understand is, I hate to break it to you, but if people could just snap their fingers and get hot food, then they wouldn't need your product.
Speaker 2: No. And so you need to think about your product like a tool. What is it? Is it a screwdriver or is it a hammer? What do I get to do? And tools are a perfect analogy because tools are things that make us feel super human. Right?
Dave: Yeah, super powered. The other easy one to explain is if you sold shovels. You could tell people," yeah. It's a four foot pole and you can put an aluminum piece on the end of it and you can go dig holes." No people want fucking holes. They don't care about your shovel.
Speaker 2: Your shovel, no, no. Forget the shovel.
Dave: But every time we build something new and on the marketing side, we're all guilty of it, is we want to talk about how that it's the new type of pole and it's X, Y, and Z.
Speaker 2: Exactly, so instead of talking about features and functions, talk about problems you solve.
Dave: Exactly. So, all right. So there's your two ways, the two ways to get more people to care about your stuff. Number one, understand that people don't care.
Speaker 2: Not at all.
Dave: Not at all. People are selfish, we're selfish. How hard is it to sell something to you? It's pretty hard, right?
Speaker 2: Pretty damn hard.
Dave: Yeah, but we don't think about that when we're the ones that are actually selling.
Speaker 2: No, and then if we go back to what we've talked about in the past, understanding the cognitive biases, this is one of the cognitive biases, that people are self- serving at the end of the day.
Dave: Damn, we need to do an episode on that too, by the way.
Speaker 2: Let's do it.
Dave: Yeah. And then the second reason is focusing more on the superpowers. It's not about features, it's not about the thing you're building. It's about the power that it gives to somebody when they use it.
Speaker 2: Amen. I was just dusting off my fresh pair of Air Force 1s I have on today.
Dave: I saw that tweet about that yesterday. Somebody tweeted at you like," That better be some rap line." Or whatever.
Speaker 2: Yeah. And I had to tell him" No, but I was wearing my Crocodile Air Force 1s."
Dave: You said black Alligator Air Force 1s. Crocodile Air Force 1s.
Speaker 2: Man. I'm going to Europe next week. I need some new Air Force 1s.
Dave: That's good reason to travel is every time you go you can get a new pair of shoes.
Speaker 2: Let's go.
Dave: Yeah. All right. So make more people care about your product by understanding it's not about you.
Speaker 2: Go do it.
Dave: Start there.
Speaker 2: Let's do it.
Dave: Seeking Wisdom, we're out.
Speaker 2: See you in Dublin.