Unexpected Features Gives Product Passion

Lance on the iPod

I took up running about a year and a half ago, starting with a 4K. I’m hoping next year to run the St. George marathon with Aaron. Being a gadget guy, and an Apple guy, I asked my wife for the iPod Nano and Nike+iPod kit for Christmas. This gadget tracks how far and fast you’re running, and reports to you on your iPod and also on Nike’s website (data gets uploaded when you sync with iTunes).

In one of my runs last week I ran the first mile at my top sustainable speed. After running several miles after that and finishing my workout, a voice came on and said something to the effect, “I’m (some famous athlete), congratulations! You just ran your fastest mile!”. I had no idea who the athlete was, but it was so fun to be surprised at the end of my run with a personalized congratulations. My next run I ran further than I had ever run before, and afterwards Lance Armstrong congratulated me for having done so.

Impressed? Yes! It got me to thinking though, if I had known about the feature, like if it was printed right on the box, it wouldn’t have been as exciting when it actually came on and congratulated me. I can see the marketing language on the box now…

“And when you finish your fastest mile or longest run, famous athletes will personally congratulate your accomplishment!”

The lesson learned, not every feature needs to be marketed or “featured”. Some of them should be left to be discovered. When people “discover” on their own, they often enjoy it more than having been fed or delivered it without any action on their part at all.

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