Cut The Crap And Build With Empathy


Our bullshit radars are at an all time high these days.

We can sense a lack of authenticity from a mile away. Especially when it comes to the content we engage with or the products we use. That’s why it seems like anything that has a hint of authenticity takes off these days.

In many ways, authenticity may be the ultimate scarce good nowadays. We’re all being sold stuff at unprecedented levels. Choice is at an all time high.

Like authenticity, trust is something you just can’t hack. It’s not something that’s self-proclaimed. It’s a hard earned trait attributed to you and your product by others through a precedence of doing right by the user.

Doing right by the user.

That’s something you simply can’t fake. No matter how hard you try to come across as authentic or to tape together a few ‘user friendly’ hacks you’ve read about, the moment you start ‘trying’ you’ve already lost.

Instead- what we should all strive to practice is a little empathy, the ultimate x-factor in the product development process.

Despite its unfortunate title, Dale Carengie’s timeless bestseller may be one of the best product books of all time, filled with so many truths on crafting winning products. In it, he outlines what it means to be an empathetic person. How to put yourself in other’s shoes. Or in other words, how to be a stand out person. The type of stuff we’ve all been preached to practice since we were children. And yet, it’s the type of stuff we all struggle to implement in practice.

As a product person, it’s human nature to want that quick win, the immediate fix, the instant gratification. And being the bigger person, that stand out individual, sometimes seems to get us and our products the short end of the stick. But we have to realize that these perceived short-term wins have very real long-term impacts. Those terrible banner ads that may earn you a few bucks in the short run, but will kill your user’s experience is the perfect example. That’s no way to begin to build trust.

The big wins we’re all seeking our won in the long-term.

In order to build the next generation of products, we need to be more mindful of others. We need to put ourselves in each others’ shoes more often. We need to infuse a bit more emotion in our rationally charged decision making processes.

Today, empathy has been a major source of competitive advantage for those of us that have figured this out, but the day is coming where it’ll be an absolute must-have if you want your product to be given a chance.

Otherwise people will see right through you and your product. They’ll call you on your bullshit.

Just put yourself in your user’s shoes.

Is every little detail of your product for the benefit of your user? You may be able to rationalize some elements, but it won’t do you much in the eyes of your users.

This is the first of many posts to come on how to breed empathy into products. Make sure to check back or hit ‘follow’ if you found this interesting. It’d also mean a great deal if you forwarded this along to whoever you think might find this interesting.

If you want some contextualized tips or feedback on your product, tweet me@brianjohnpark and we’ll make it happen. Read the original article here:


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Product @WeTransfer, Mentor @Rockstart

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