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On Product (4 of 4)- Work with the Best

One last comment on Product, find and work with the best people you can afford. When going to new technology- DECT or SIP for us back then when we were working at the guest room telephone company- it is best to bring in outside engineering that has the knowledge and experience on hand. This makes a huge difference.

People often ask why the products we designed during that period are still some of the best-sellers today. Because we paid for the design. We did not outsource that to the factory. The factory in China, at best has adequate design, not spectacular. This applied to the look of the product, but also to the functionality. While I was unsuccessful in having our own SIP/ DECT engineering in place, we did get outside help for the SIP tools needed to ensure smooth deployment at the property level and support on an ongoing basis.

For the SIP portion, we had Silicon Valley experts with decades of experience. Pricey? Absolutely. Well worth it. And on the design? We had ex- Bang & Olufsen designers. There is a lot of knowledge and success that comes with using great experts. This is a fine balance between what you can afford, how far you want to push design, and the cost of supporting the product.

I often recall Susan Kare when I have doubts. For you that do not know, Mrs. Kare was Employee #10 at Apple. Imagine, you had Steve Jobs some other notables, some engineers, but as early as the tenth hire, Apple hires the perfect person to ensure its look, feel, and functionality are visually the best in the world. If you have not read up on Mrs. Kare, you should. Fascinating, but for me, aside from the brilliance of her work, is her background. A non-computer, fine arts expert. Not just someone with a master’s in fine arts but a full doctorate. Experts in whatever field you are needing are essential for the longevity and success of your product. In Ms. Kare's case, that meant communicating computer functions in a 32 x 32 format.

It’s so important that keeping Apple’s example, we have been focused on our User Interface for some time. We have selected Fonts, a Color Scheme, etc., and are really hoping we can find that designer to make this experience intuitive and easy for our users. It will cost extra, but excellence always does.

So do your best to make sure you invest in the best experts that you can afford and that they help you achieve your vision. If you do this well you will have a very good start to your product life cycle and one that can endure for a long time.

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