A Matter of Perspective

In an art class in high school we learned how to do perspectives. One-point and two-point perspectives. In a one-point perspective, you put a dot in the center of the page and all lines go to that point.

This is like looking down a city street and the lines of the street and sidewalk and buildings all go towards that one dot, vanishing in the distance.

In a two-point perspective it’s like looking at a building on the corner of a city street with one street going to the right and one going to the left. Each of those streets vanish into the distance towards their respective points.

In business, many folks suffer from one-point perspective. They focus on one thing. In many ways, focusing with total dedication towards one goal is a great thing. But from another “perspective,” it’s deadly.

That perspective is what you’re going to do for the customer. Many people get tunnel vision on the product they want to make, the product they want to sell, the problem they want to solve.

The question is, is that a problem the customer is aware of, a problem the customer wants solved?

Put another way, are you focusing on a solution in search of a problem?

Are you so focused on your software, your solution, that you lose sight of how it will be received in the market place? Do you lose sight of how your customers will use the product? Do you lose sight of the problem the customer is trying to solve?

This IS a matter of perspective—are you looking at it from the perspective of the customer, or the perspective of the engineer/developer?

If you look at it from the perspective of the developer, your product will vanish into the distance, your sales and market share dwindling to nothing, never to be seen or heard from again. Another great solution in search of a problem, in search of customers who don’t need it or don’t know they need it.

The answer is multiple perspectives. Look at the market for your product from ALL angles—from the customer perspective, the reseller, the distributor, the sales team, the media, and yes, even the developer. When the multiple-perspective approach gets ingrained into an organization, into the process of how to identify, define, develop, market and sell a product into a marketplace, you have a shot.

If you tunnel-vision on what you want to make, the odds are against you. Expand your perspective, expand your horizons, consider all the perspectives.

Create a product that meets customer needs—and the customers’ awareness and perception of those needs.

An important point to emphasize is that a customer may have a need and not know it, which means no customer demand for the product. Sometimes you have to draw your customer’s attention to that problem, to that need, to achieve that “Aha!” moment when they desire your product.

Are you just looking at it through your eyes, or are you looking at it from the customer’s eyes? Provide customers what they need and want and you’ll succeed. Look at the problem from their perspective and figure out how you’re going to solve what they need and want and present it to them.

It’s all a matter of perspective. And the customer’s perspective is the most important of all.

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