The element of surprise

A while back, I wrote about the danger of putting too much emphasis on what customers say they want. I’ve just come across this quote which is rather nice:

Nintendo has grasped two important notions that have eluded its competitors. The first is, Don’t listen to your customers. The hard-core gaming community is extremely vocal — they blog a lot — but if Nintendo kept listening to them, hard-core gamers would be the only audience it ever had. “[Wii] was unimaginable for them,” Iwata says. “And because it was unimaginable, they could not say that they wanted it. If you are simply listening to requests from the customer, you can satisfy their needs, but you can never surprise them. Sony and Microsoft make daily-necessity kinds of things. They have to listen to the needs of the customers and try to comply with their requests. That kind of approach has been deeply ingrained in their minds.”

[The emphasis is mine.] This is from a TIME magazine article which has disappeared behind a premium firewall, so thanks to Nick who posted it as a comment on Kathy Sierra’s site. Nick added:

Stick to satisfying expectations and they’ll end up being the limits you’re chained to!

-2 Comments

[…] There is a big difference between creating good enough products for money, and creating products because you want to see them come to life. There’s nothing wrong with solving real problems in as economically feasible a fashion as possible. In fact, it’s difficult and worthy of admiration. But, I do believe that it is often possible to do a lot better. Quentin Stafford-Fraser has an interesting quote on the subject. […]

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© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser