This is a repost from the archives of my old SeattleDuck blog (RIP), which suffered a no-backup database death a few years back. Fortunately it seems I was auto-reposting my blog feed to Facebook at the time (2006), and thanks to the joys of Facebook Timeline I was able to recover the text of one of my favorite blog posts ever.
Originally posted Fall 2006, when I was still at Microsoft. Reposted today as I still think this applies to any project I might be working on and I’m looking for a bit of inspiration (note the Blackberry reference…old school):
We had a meeting today where we debated some of the key goals for an upcoming community initiative, including the usual suspects:
Reducing support costs
Boosting net satisfaction
Acquiring new users
Ken Levy was there – he cut through that and locked on to the real manna: “We’re trying to build passion.” Wistful thoughts of Kathy Sierra immediately passed around my head. [2012 update: Kathy later blogged about this post here]
But that got me thinking – what does “passion” boil down to? Where do you begin? Kathy and Dan have many more eloquent and well constructed thoughts on this on this, so I figured I would bring it down a notch on the maturity level, away from any hint of intellectual discourse towards a raw, gut feeling:
That’s where passion begins. Those are the words I want every user of my product to utter. Ideally followed up by something like:
Dude, you have to check this out. It’s so f**king cool!
I don’t want their reaction to be a measured, rational, dispassionate analysis of why the product is better than the alternatives, how the cost is more reasonable, feature set more complete, UI more AJAXified. I don’t want them to pause to study the boring feature comparison chart on the back of the box.
I want f**king cool! Period.
I want that pure sense of wonder, that kid-at-airshow-seeing-an-F16-on-afterburners-rip-by-so-close-it-makes-your-soul-shake reaction, that caress-the-new-Blackberry-until-your-friends-start-to-question-your-sanity experience. I want an irrational level of sheer, unfiltered, borderline delusional joy. [2012 update: I’d like to think I predicted here the emotional reactions that Apple would inspire from 2007 onward…The iPhone after all was just a few months in the future]
That is where passion for a product starts. Yes, it only gets you so far, and then actual product quality, support, stickiness, strong community, etc come into play. But true passion begins with the two most wonderful words a marketer can hear a customer say: