It’s Not Over-Engineered If It’s Delightful

Without a doubt, the best gift I got this past Christmas was the YETI Rambler™ 20 oz. Tumbler. With that name, you might think it’s a short glass perfect for bourbon cocktails, but actually it’s a stainless steel mug I use exclusively for coffee. I fill it up every morning, and it’s “over-engineered” design keeps my coffee warm well into lunchtime.

Lemme tell you what: this thing is fan-freakin’-tastic.

Here’s a guy who’s got a far rougher job than I do using the same mug. He knows what’s up, mug-wise.

The folks at YETI use the term “over-engineered” as a catchphrase of sorts:

We over-engineered these double-wall insulated tumblers with an 18/8 stainless steel body, which means your drink still keeps its temperature no matter how much of a beating this cup takes.

The thing is, I’m not sure it really is over-engineered.

ACTUALLY, It’s Delightful

There’s a vague implication that the engineering effort was excessive to the point of somehow being wasteful. But I don’t think that’s quite true; YETI gets something in return for their efforts: my delight, which goes beyond “satisfaction.” This is best shown by the Kano Model.

The Kano Model (Courtesy: Mind the Product)

YETI made an investment in the structure of the mug that was higher than it needed to be for me to be merely satisfied, but in return I’m very enthusiastic about the product. I’m delighted by the heat retention, and thus I’m definitely a Promoter in Net Promoter Score lingo.

I’m satisfied by the fact that the mug is dishwasher-safe, and I have a basic expectation that the mug won’t leak. But neither of those would spur me to write an article like this or recommend the product to a friend. In a world of hastily constructed MVPs, the lesson here is to make sure there’s at least something about your product people really love.

Carried Away or Cool?

The trick is to know your customers well enough to make sure you’re not going overboard. Elon Musk admitted they “got a little carried away” with the Tesla Model X, but that depends on whether people find the features delightful. I might consider the falcon-wing doors cool, but the biohazard filtration silly.

Elon Musk introduces the Tesla Model X

Although now that I think about it, I wonder what kind of cupholders the Model X has.