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Why Product Hunt should replace “user guides” for high tech giants?

Here is a new idea for Product Hunt, which I think will help this amazing platform we all are addicted to… be more friendly to folks who are not necessarily “tech nerds”.

At work ($2.5B high tech firm that was founded in 2002), hardly anyone (there are 150+ of us in marketing and product management) knows or contributes to PH. Simply because it is not part of their day to day professional life.

This idea popped into my head as I was reading through Cisco’s (our competitor) user guides. So here is why.

1.User guides are static and boring. Here are many from Cisco. Other high tech giants are no different. Here is VMware and Intel.

2. The nature of “reading” and “finding information” has changed since the 1990s. First it needs to be mobile friendly. These PDFs are not mobile friendly.

3. There is absolutely zero feedback loop between the customer and the folks who contributed to the creation of these user guides. They do not even know who is reading about the great features they have designed for their great high tech products. What a shame.

4. Worse… there is absolutely no way for product managers or marketers to measure “pulse” among their customers as to which hardware / software features are most popular, which they can use to double down on their competitive advantage.

5. These companies spend tons every year to write, edit, post these documents to their websites, community pages and support portals. And people spend countless hours searching through these 300 page documents.

6. Writing (tech pubs team), posting (web team) and sharing (community team) need to be in perfect alignment for customers to reach the necessary information they need at the right time. And it is always tricky when software does not automate the process. Don’t even mention the countless hours wasted on “meetings” to get this stuff ready for publication.

7. And then… 90% of the time everyone complains “no one reads the user guide”… which eventually results in poor customer satisfaction. If we cast a wider net and look at the US businesses, apparently in aggregate we are losing $41B to bad customer service.

While SaaS products and companies are breaking some barriers here, and are better at delivering timely, useful information to their customers (e.g. Slack and Intercom for obvious reasons)… I think there is way more to be done to significantly reduce the time it takes to bring valuable information to the purchaser of an enterprise product in the B2B space.

Food for thought!


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