The Product Is You

As Hugh wrote in his newsletter, “If you look at products as amplifiers of human potential, they look a lot less like commodities.” When you reverse the logic, what does the way products look tell you about human potential? It’s not about intelligence as much as it is about taking risks, not to blindly follow the manual and only do what you’re told.

This does not only apply to physical products in the store, but also to soft products that affect which way the company will go in the future by the criteria they’re selecting their employees and managers: Do they play it safe by choosing people who can be considered a safe bet or go out on a limb by picking those who go out on a limb? Or how people inside the company interact: Do they respect each other and look for the best solution or bow to the top-down structure which needs predictable results? How do they interact with the outside world? And so forth.

Every tiny bit adds to the outcome, and that’s why the aforementioned reversal of Hugh’s remark concludes that whenever a product looks like a commodity, the less risk the ones who contributed to make it so were willing to take. A commodity product is the result of mediocrity in the process of its becoming.


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