Oh yeah? Compete with this!


Creating defensible competitive advantage and differentiation are something we’re all familiar with. Here’s one product that tries something a little different. I’ll give them points for trying, but really, how defensible is this?

Introducing Throx.  The cure for the missing sock.Yes it’s short for “three socks”.

  • 3 socks — for when you lose 1.
  • 3 socks — for the price of 2.
  • 3 socks — last longer than 2.

When I first saw all this, I thought, you’ve got to be kidding me. But, this is no joke. Throx is a real, AWARD WINNING product! And the guy who created this product, Edwin Heaven, is defined as an “inventor”. He was even on CNBC! Watch the video for yourself.

So where to begin?

First: “the cure for the missing sock”

Is this really that huge a problem? A sock goes missing or gets a hole in it, you buy another pair, or two! Who needs the hassle of keeping track of a spare sock?

Second: “3 socks for the price of 2”

Now that’s a defensible competitive advantage. Not!

Third: “3 socks last longer than 2”

Yeah, well 4 last longer than 3!

Fourth: The name: Throx

Sounds too much like “anthrax” and “pox”. Note to marketers. Don’t name your product something that sounds like a deadly chemical, a disease or an affliction. Anyone remember Ayds appetite suppressant. While named before the AIDS epidemic, the similar sounding name permanently damaged sales of the product once the disease spread.

So Throx, best of luck, but I don’t see a huge success in your future.

But just in case there is a market for “3 instead of only 2” products, I’m officially calling dibs on the following:

3 earrings aka Threerings ™

3 two-way radios aka Threekie Talkies ™

3 mitts aka Tri-Mitts ™

Note: the mitts are each designed with a patented reversible thumb slot so they can be worn on either hand!

And finally:

3 layer thick processed cheese slices (for those really indulgent grilled cheese sandwiches you always wanted, but never have the nerve to ask for) aka Fromage a Trois ™.

Sorry couldn’t resist that one.

Got suggestions for other numerically challenged products, leave a comment.




A public service announcement here.

We’ve redirected the blog to http://onproductmanagement.net.

This is through WordPress’s redirection service so there should be no problems, but this is technology and software, so we know better.

Please leave a comment if you encounter any problems with blog access, visibility, your RSS  feed or anything else.

Also, the original http://onproductmanagement.wordpress.com address should still function properly.

We’ll work through any issues you alert us to as best as we can. Hopefully this change causes minimal disruption over the holidays.

Saeed, Alan, Ethan.

Experience, IT and Surveys

In addition to his personal blog, Good Product Manager, Jeff Lash also hosts Ask A Good Product Manager where he solicits answers to common Product Management questions from other bloggers.

I’ve answered a few questions on Jeff’s site over the last few months. Here’s a summary of those responses.

Question: How can I become a Product Manager without any experience?

“…There is no well defined path to becoming a PM in a technology company. Technology PMs need domain knowledge, need a good technical background, and need to be able to drive a product through from conception to completion and into the market. It is a multi-disciplinary role, and one that can be both quite frustrating and very rewarding at the same time.”

Read the full post here.

Question: How do you manage product ownership with the technology organization?

“…To get the most out of the creative talents of that team, involve them in the requirements definition phase. See what ideas they have that align with the business objectives that need to be met and decide from that input, what makes sense to prioritize.”

Read the full post here.

Question: What is the best way to design a questionnaire/survey to get customer feedback? How do we know that we have the right questions and are getting the right answers?

Two questions here. When designing a questionnaire/survey, focus on the objectives and use those to guide you in the type, length and content of the survey. To get the right answers, simply ask the right questions. 🙂 Don’t know if you have the right questions? Test the survey with a small sample of the target audience and use that information to refine what you have.

Read the full post here.


ProductCamp Boston

Another ProductCamp is in the works. This time, the Boston Products group is planning a ProductCamp for February 28, 2009 in Cambridge MA. Click here for more details.


ProductCamp Austin Winter 2009

The ProductCamp circuit is getting busier. Paul Young and the folks down in Austin are holding their second ProductCamp on January 24th, 2009.

Click here for the details.