Illustration by Zachary Richard Hill

What Is The Personality of Your Product?

When people are asked to describe their friends and new people they meet, they use adjectives that describe their personality:

She is really, really smart.
He is kind of boring.
She is seriously hilarious.

Customers use the same adjectives when they tell friends about the products we build. But for better or worse, the word choices are more simple.

That app is fun.
That app sucks.

No margin for error.

When building social products, your customers must describe your app as being fun, otherwise your product won’t work. Fun is a basic feeling that you must achieve.

While this concept may seem simple, creating fun products is not easy.

People ask me if building fun consumer products is easier in Los Angeles, a city that is known for entertainment, beaches, and sunshine. Being in Southern California is helpful, but the truth is that plenty of boring products are built in Los Angeles (and every other city).

More important than “being in Los Angeles” or any physical location — the personality of your product depends on the leader of your product team.

Your leader must build an environment that encourages innovation and wildly creative ideas. If that isn’t happening at your company right now, your product won’t be fun.

What is the personality of your product? Pick a few words in your own mind. Then ask your teammates what they think.

Does your team use the same words to describe your products personality? Are you being honest with each other about what customers actually think?

If you’re using different words to describe your product, you must make these conversations a priority for your team.

The sooner that you identify your products personality and build features with those words engrained in your minds, the better off your entire company will be.

When in doubt, make it fun.

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