I’ve just recently come to understand that developing a technology product is not about answering to a market need; it is about building something that pushes the humanity forward.
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” ― Henry Ford
When Steve Jobs developed the first iPhone, I can only speculate that he was not thinking if he should make the phone specifically for an athlete, student or a senior? He made it so everyone could use it. If we’re trapped in our data and research to form stereotypes in order to anticipate our potential customers’ needs, we can never understand what we all fundamentally seek.
To say all human is different means we’re not looking deep enough: We all drink water, we all breathe air, and we all eat. We eat differently but our ingredients all share similarities; we eat rice, pork, vegetables, but it’s the way they are prepared differentiated us into different cultures. If you focus on your product on one “culture,” the product is only likely to serve that culture. If you make a product for human, that is a completely different paradigm. You can start selling your product to one demographic and build your loyalty there, but if you don’t keep the ideal of humanity needs in mind, you’ll be forever stuck at servicing that one demographic. Similar pattern can be seen with the growth of Facebook. It started at Harvard and only for Harvard students, but the creator kept the need of humanity in mind allowing its seemingly limitless potential to grow.
Developing a product thinking about everyone is unrealistic, greedy and naive, but thinking about humanity is essential to building a successful product and is what makes us human. The difference lies not in understanding each demographic of users but instead, the fundamental need of us as a species, as a whole.