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The little things you cant sell

Ever used a product and thought, “the person who designed this couldn’t possibly have ever used it themselves”?

I sure have (Microsoft Outlook comes to mind for me).

Likewise, you’ve probably had an experience like that with a product that just seems brilliant, simply because it is so intuitive that you know someone used it, tested it, used it again and really put thought and real-life testing into it before you got your hands on it.

You know this because you can just pick it up and figure it out quickly and as your experience deepens, you find more and more ways that it just works – and exactly as you expect it to. You hear a lot about this stuff during discussions of the iPhone and iPod.

A week or three ago, I was watching James Dyson’s presentation at MIT. You can find it at, where there are a ton of pretty interesting talks to check out.

It was a fascinating hour- classic stuff from a technical person who feels he isn’t a marketing person – as Dyson implicitly defined himself as throughout the presentation.

One of the things he discussed was what they decided to emphasize in their advertising as opposed to what really transformed their first-time customers into loyal, repeat customers.

“It’s the little things you can’t sell”, Dyson noted.

For example, he said that a vacuum that doesn’t lose power as you use it is a big selling point, while a litany of tiny design features that the owner will notice over time would make them appreciate the vacuum more than any other they’ve owned – yet they could *never* sell the vacuum by bringing those things into the conversation.

He was talking about small conveniences that would likely never cause you to buy a Dyson, but that once discovered, add up into a customer experience that is unparalleled.

Is that what you’re creating for your clientele?

What are the little things you can’t sell?

cerebral palsy Creativity Leadership Technology

TED: Music, technology, expression, engineering & Cerebral Palsy

Today’s guest post is a video from TED2008 and shows – among other things – why university students pursue what might typically appear to be “useless” work in their graduate studies.

photo credit: kk+

The video starts to hit home at 12 minutes, so don’t get impatient and click away. If nothing else, fast forward to about 10 minutes so you can get the full impact of the rest of the video.

Think about the workplace. Coma patients. Eldercare. Automation. Industrial safety.

Joe Lazarus’ presentation at TED2008