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"Great" - The New Mediocre

It's almost 2012, and we're in the biggest innovation game of our lives. It's hard to believe, but the market is getting "watered down" with great products. To win - you have to not only be great, but the greatest.

There are three levels to succeed in this game:

  1. Functionality
  2. Usability
  3. Beauty

The base level:

  • Every product out there is functional in some way: it exists to serve a function. But not every functional product out there is optimized in usability. And definitely not every product out there is distinguishably beautiful.

The second level:

  • So what about a functional product that is optimized in usability? You've taken it to the next level - you've separated yourself from a league of products that simply did no research into consumer behavior. Your product is intuitive - it is optimized in usability and it functions well - it fulfills what it needs to fulfill. Good!  But if it is not beautiful - no one will fall in love with it: it isn't the greatest.

Add the third level:

  • Beauty. People are attracted to distinguishable beauty. Guys like Porsches, girls like Versace. A distinguishably beautiful product that fulfills its function is good. But if it isn't optimized in usability - no one will enjoy using it: it isn't great.

Apple reinvented the way we listen to music with the iPod. Sure it wasn't the first functional mp3 player - there were plenty more before it. But it was the first mp3 player that was optimized in usability and distinguishably beautiful.

The new startup, "Nest" totally reinvented the thermostat based on researched usability and intuitive aesthetics. It created a tidal wave of media buzz - how did a simple thermostat get featured in so many countless blogs, news articles, and magazines?

Because a functional product that is optimized in usability and distinguishably beautiful will win every time: in the lab, in the media, and most importantly - in the consumer's home.

Stop being great. Work to be the greatest.