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Microsoft Don’t Ask the Customer | The Practical CIO

Microsoft Don’t Ask the Customer


Microsoft just announced Windows 10 and for some reason that
escapes me, skipped Windows 9. More important however is that Microsoft is
starting what they call a “conversation” with customers aimed at obtain input on
how Windows 10 should work.

My advice to Microsoft is don’t do that!

While it is important to understand customer needs, asking
customers how a product should behave or look like is a recipe for disaster,
particularly for companies where innovation is critical.

The reality is that customers rarely know what they want.

I know that because I worked several years for a car
company. At one point, my company started to ask customers what they wanted in
an automobile and used that input to design cars. The company did that in the
illusion that they would then design cars that the customer wanted.

It did not work. The customer did not like the car that was
designed for them with their input.

Actually one customer provided a great advice that the
company should have listened to. He said: Show me the car and I will tell you
if I like it or not.

Microsoft should aim at innovation. Use lateral thinking to
design products. Bring innovation into their products. Then ask the customer if
they like or not. Just that.