By Tyler Jefford
On June 14th, 2023
Apple introduced the Apple Vision Pro last week to some mixed reviews. But it reminded me of all the other products they’ve introduced over the years that redefined the genres.
iPhone wasn’t the first smart phone, but its not surprising people think this was when the industry changed. iPad, Apple Watch and even the AirPods are all in the same category, not the first but clearly best in class (at the time of announcement). I think Apple Vision will be looked at in the same way in the near future.
This had me thinking about building software and chasing competition. Often times companies will hyper focus on what their nearest competition is doing and try to launch products that follow in their footsteps. I’ve seen this happen, and I’ve been a part of this in my career. If Company A has a sick home screen, then we need one too - but we don’t have the time or money to build it. If Company B launched a new product focusing on their customer base, we need to launch the same to we can try to get a chunk of their users to come try our app out.
The companies I see winning in this are the companies that pay attention to what their competitors are doing, understanding the landscape of the industries they play in but not simply copying their roadmap to try to get their users to switch sides. The most successful strategy is to pay attention to what YOUR users want to do and build products and features that enhance their lives.
Like Apple, leaning into their ecosystem as a selling point - their users want a seamless transition between phone, computer and AR. They want their technology to work for them and to not have to worry about saving things to a cloud, and upload time and download speed. They want things to just work in their ecosystem without thinking.
What are your users asking for and does it align to what your roadmap is right now? Does your roadmap meet your users where they are, or are you building roads you hope they will use one day? Take a look at the data, conduct customer surveys, build a better product for your users and you wont need to be the first person to introduce a new product, but you will be the best.