There is a lot of good content on the internet about “worst products”. The question is, “What makes something worse than it should be?”
The answer has to do with the fact that the worst products are the ones we are most passionate about and we know the most about. The best products are those which are just so right we can’t imagine anything that could possibly be better. The worst products, in this sense, are those which feel like they should be better, but they aren’t.
A good example of this is Flappy Bird. Flappy Bird was a game which was made by someone who probably didn’t have very much experience making games at all, but had spent years on a project related to music or physics and knew enough to understand what he did not know. He wanted to make something fun and quirky which would make people laugh, which would attract attention and might even encourage people to download it.
He failed in all of these aims, but he succeeded in doing one thing really well – making it so addictive that people would want to play it 24/7 for as long as possible and not notice when it was finished (which is actually pretty hard).
His success with flappy birds shows how you can succeed at something by designing it in such a way that your audience will naturally develop an addiction to it (if you do this right).
List of the worst products
Here’s a list of the worst products I have ever seen. I’m not trying to pick on anyone, but rather just highlight some of the more egregious examples. They are either too passive or did not focus enough on the marketing aspect.
2) Axis Communications (www.axiscomm.com)
3) Check Online (www.checkonline.com)
4) Avira Internet Security (www.avira-emailservers.com/index_en_US.html)
5) Blaster (www.bitdefender-antispyware.com/personal-downloads/blaster-protection/)
For me, this is the hardest part of being a startup founder. I’ve seen all kinds of terrible products and I’ve seen all kinds of amazing products.
I’m still mostly a believer in building fantastic products as long as the people who use them tell me they love them or want to buy them. But I also try to contextualize the product by trying to answer the question: why do users need this thing? What value does it bring?
Sometimes, I can actually make an argument for why someone should buy it. And sometimes, I can’t. It often comes down to whether or not the value proposition is compelling enough that users actually need it. If you have something that solves a problem worth solving — but isn’t compelling enough for users — chances are you don’t have a good product.
We should be willing to let go of many projects we start because they don’t have a compelling value proposition. We should be willing to let go of some projects because they are just too much work (or will take too much time). We should be willing to let go of some projects because we just don’t like them (or think they are bad).
The worst thing we can do is keep working on something when there isn’t even a decent chance we’ll succeed at it… — Jeremy Keith (@jeremykeith) March 2, 2018
It is common to hear the saying “Actions speak louder than words”, and this is certainly true for products. It is also true for sales. In many cases, a salesperson (or product manager) who says something that sounds great is actually not as good as someone who does not say anything at all.
This may seem counterintuitive, but it really makes sense. When you are in the middle of convincing someone to buy your product, you have no time to waste worrying about how you are going to say it. You have just one question on your mind: can I believe what you are saying? The only way to know for sure if the commitment you are getting from your prospect is genuine or not, is by asking them directly: can you truly believe what I am saying? This means that when a salesperson says something that sounds great, they generally mean it — but what they do not always mean is that it will work.