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Product development playground: Learnings from the giants

by Madalina Adriana Anghel • Jul 8, 2024

Product development playground: Learnings from the giants
When referring to technology, we often hear statements such as: “top of the line”, “high-end,” “first-rate”, “state of the art” or “cutting-edge”. They’re often associated with products coming from popular brands that everyone knows of and usually they’re also linked with fancy launch parties, online and offline events and the idea that there’s nothing like this that has ever been seen before. 

But…is this true? Or is it just marketing fairy dust spread over meticulously developed products that contain “game-changing chips that offer a groundbreaking performance” that are far out from traditional models? 

We would say a bit of both, as some products and brands are in a league of their own. These giants aren’t just playing the game, they are changing it, and here’s how they do it and what we can learn from their approach: 

Apple – Simplicity and Elegance
Apple’s brilliance lies in simplicity. The products are sleek, intuitive and user-friendly, keeping the focus on what truly matters. The word premium is as default for Apple as the word sprint is for agile development. 

The lesson here? Design with simplicity in mind. A product that's easy to use will always win over a complex one. 

Tesla – Disruptive Innovation
Tesla didn’t just build electric cars; they revolutionized the automotive industry. By challenging the status quo and pushing the boundaries of what's possible, they've set new standards.

The lesson? Don’t be afraid to disrupt. Innovation often comes from daring to think differently. 

Disney – Magic in every detail
Disney's secret recipe is its attention to detail and the vision that they have built over the years. From meticulously designed theme parks to blockbuster movies, every product is crafted to perfection.

The takeaway? Never underestimate the power of the little things. In product development, those tiny details can create an unforgettable customer experience. 

Netflix – Data driven decisions
Netflix knows what you want before you do. Their use of data analytics has managed to give customers exactly what they want, when they want it.

Lesson learned: Leverage data to understand your audience deeply and tailor your offerings to meet their needs. 

HBO – Less is more
HBO's focus on high-quality, critically acclaimed content proves that sometimes less is more. Instead of flooding the market, they invest in making every show a hit.

The message? Prioritize excellence. Invest in that loveable feature that will make your product a hit in order to gain time to focus on truly game-changing features, instead of just focusing on features that catch up with the market. The catching-up can be done while everyone else is too busy applauding during an open-stage. 

Google – Embrace feedback and conquer 
A key learning from Google regarding product development is the principle of iterative improvement through continuous user feedback.  

Google launches products quickly, gathering user data and feedback, and then iterating based on that feedback to enhance the product. 

Lesson learned: User feedback is key in adapting and refining products rapidly, ensuring they meet user needs and stay competitive in the fast-paced tech industry. 

Now that you’ve read some key learnings from the giants on the market, what do you think you could do better thinking of the products you’re working on? Stir up the waters and trust your intuition, less is more but more can be less if you’re focusing on the wrong thing.