Month: June 2009

The value of simplicity

We have 3 different types of food blenders in our house. They are pictured below. I’ve tried to show them roughly to scale with one another.


The first is a “traditional” blender with a base, a large 56 oz. (1.75 L) pitcher-style container and several speed settings for the blades.

The second is an immersion blender with a number of attachments for mixing, blending, chopping etc.

The third is known as the Magic Bullet blender. It has a small 16 oz.  (.45 L)  container for the contents being blended and a simple on/off mechanism for the blades.

While they all have benefits and are clearly different, guess which one gets the most use in our household? Given the title of this post, it should be pretty obvious.

Yes, it’s blender #3, the Magic Bullet. And why?

Simplicity in all aspects of usage. Most blending jobs are very simple quick tasks. e.g. making a smoothie, or blending some sauce or something similar. The usage scenario goes something like this:

  1. Place the contents to be blended into the blending  container
  2. Blend for 10-15 seconds (maybe 20 seconds in extreme cases)
  3. Pour the contents out of the container

There’s not much more than that. In *most* cases, the amounts are small (< 16 oz) so I don’t need the large blender which is both heavy and a bit of pain to clean. Also the immersion blender is pretty good for a lot of tasks, but I find it inefficient unless I truly have to immerse it into a pot or other container for “in place” blending.

In short, for the majority of my blending tasks, the Magic Bullet addresses the needs well. There is a lesson here for software and technology PMs, and I think you know what that is:

A simple solution that addresses a use case well is likely to be used often by your target audience.

Of course, most technology products do a lot more than a blender, but that doesn’t mean they have to be complex to use.


Friday Fun:

OK, the spelling is off, but a website whose sole purpose is to repeat my last name over and over again is impossible not to share.

Saeed (Wrath of) Khan

(How) do you measure customer satisfaction?

Dear Readers,

I will be writing an article on how to measure customer satisfaction in B2B software. To prepare for that article I would like to hear your experiences or read articles that you find useful.

If you have a useful article on the topic, or personal experience measuring customer satisfaction, I would love to hear from you. Please email me directly at

Here are some focusing questions:

Do you measure customer satisfaction?

  • Simple question: do you measure it?

What to measure

  • what are your “leading indicators” of customer satisfaction?
  • is customer satisfaction the right thing to measure? what about customer success?
  • how do you measure for referenceability?
  • how do you measure for customer’s liklihood of re-purchasing?

How do you take the measurements?

  • Do you use quantitative measurements? If so, how do you administer these? Direct calls? Web surveys?
  • What kind of response rates do you get to your web surveys? To your phone calls?
  • Have you ever used an external agency? If so, which one(s)?

Have you read any good articles or books on this topic?

Thank you. I appreciate your responses.

– Alan

Our Blog via Email

email-icon2For those of you email addicts, who prefer a message in your InBox vs. an RSS feed, we’ve recently added email subscriptions to our blog. Click here, or use the link on the right sidebar of the blog. Either way, just enter your email address and then whenever we post a new blog entry, you will get it in your Inbox shortly thereafter.

Embracing New Media

I’ve written about the CBC radio show “The Age of Persuasion” before. A recent episode entitled Embracing New Media is worth listening to.

By looking at how people reacted to and dealt with successive versions of “new” media (like the telephone and television) when they first came out, the host, Terry O’Reilly, teaches us some lessons about how to deal with the current slew of new social media in our lives. Enjoy.