When I first wrote this post, I worked for Amazon and was very reserved in what I communicated, not wanting to get myself in trouble. I’ve since left Amazon and have rewritten this article with much more details here, but am preserving the original article below.
One of the things I’ve read about regarding the way Amazon operates with a customer obsession focus is that they write press releases for products as the very first step, while the product is still just an idea. I went through this exercise for the fitness idea and found it to be a great exercise. What I found was that it really helped me formulate how I wanted the product to work so that the customer would be elated. I removed some ideas because after writing them as a customer announcement, I realized they weren’t exciting features. Others were reworked and came out much more exciting. This also helped me prioritize what I want to get built first.
For example, as I started to write out why a customer would be excited about this new fitness site, I had to really think about the key functionality that would get a user excited. As I wrote, the functionality began to change a little; looking at the features written down made me reevaluate what features were really exciting and which were bleh. Here are a few links to articles on Amazon’s approach to product development, writing a PR FAQ as the first step.
The FAQ (frequently asked questions) was a little more difficult, but still useful. I found it difficult because I just explained it all in the press release! It was hard for me to step back and see it from the perspective of someone that wasn’t inside my head. Doing this made me rewrite a few pieces of the press release to simplify or better explain different parts.
How does customer focus fit into your strategy? What did writing a press release for your product do for your thinking?