Background and Summary
For this assignment, you will discuss any product or service that, in your subjective opinion, is “not quite right.” Something is off about it. The company wants to sell it to you, but you don’t want to buy it. Identify a product or service like that, provide an image to illustrate the product or service, discuss why it fails to be “right” for you, and make one suggestion for how they could improve it.
The most certain path to success when creating a new venture is to offer products (or services) that your target customers value highly. However, while that may seem simple and obvious, it is deceptively difficult to achieve that goal.
Novice entrepreneurs often fail to appreciate how selective customers are when evaluating new products. Consumers are picky about what they buy. They are not easily convinced.
Another challenge entrepreneurs face is overcoming their own biases. Entrepreneurs tend to fall in love with their own ideas and then become unable to hear criticism. This natural tendency is called confirmation bias. People like to hear positive feedback and tend to ignore negative. We fail to see critical flaws in our ideas. Wise entrepreneurs fight this tendency by seeking out constructive criticism, and carefully listening, but it isn’t easy.
You and your BA 260 team just selected a business idea to develop this term. You presumably like this idea. However, you must avoid being overly satisfied with this idea in its current state. The Lean Start-up method teaches that entrepreneurs should be customer-focused and, above all, willing to revise their ideas when customer feedback and evidence suggest change is necessary.
This discussion exercise is designed to help you internalize that concept, being mindful to avoid confirmation bias, by reminding you how easy it is for products to fail. From online searchers or your own experience, you will identify examples of products that, in your estimation, failed to match the true needs and wants of target customers. These “bad” products can serve as a reminder about the importance and the challenge of giving customers something they truly want.
Assignment scores are based on the following criteria:
Initial Post – Clear and Complete (3 points), Lengthy and Thoughtful (3 points).
Two Replies – Complete, Lengthy, and Substantive (2 points for each reply).
See the assignment rubric for additional details. Late submissions will be accepted, subject to course standard late penalties, until the assignment closing date.
Create an original discussion post by the assignment deadline, and then return to the discussion to read and review two of your classmates’ posts and provide thoughtful replies by the following Monday.
First, from your own experience as a consumer and/or from searching online, identify a product or service you have recently encountered that, in your subjective opinion, was just “not-quite-right.” Whoever created that product should have done a better job of listening to customers. Maybe it was missing a key feature, or maybe it had too many features that you do not want. Maybe the product was designed to solve a problem that customers don’t find important, or the product failed to solve a problem that truly is important to you. Or maybe, the company’s branding and promotions strategy made the product seem strange and undesirable.
Identify a product that, somehow, failed to appeal to you or satisfy you in a critical way.
The only restriction on your identification is that you cannot use price as the basis of your critique. Everyone wants things that cost less and that is obvious. You must identify a different kind of failing, such as product design or branding.
After you have identified such a product, create an original discussion post that includes all the following elements:
Name and Brief Description of the Product (1-2 sentences). Tell us what is the name of the product and briefly describe what it is, for context.
Embedded Image of the Product. Find an image that illustrates the product and embed that image in your post. If the image is large, please re-size it to 600 pixels or less. For instruction on how to embed an image: Canvas Community page – how do I embed an image. (Links to an external site.)
Description of the Product Failure (3-5 sentences or more). Describe how the product fails. What about it makes it unappealing or unsatisfying for you, and why? Be specific and expressive. Reminder: you cannot base your critique on price. That is too easy!
Suggestion(s) for Improvement (3-5 sentences or more). Now, put yourself in the mindset of an entrepreneur, and conjecture about how the product could be improved to be more appealing and/or more satisfying for target customers. What would you recommend changing, and why?
After you post, return to the board to review and respond to two or more of your classmates’ discussion posts by the following Monday night. Always be polite, respectful, and constructive in your class discussions.
NOTE: For full credit, and to ensure that class discussions are truly worthwhile, your responses must be two paragraphs or more and must be substantive. For guidance on what “substantive” means, please read this resource page: Substantive Discussion Posts (i.e., Say something more than “I love bread too!”)
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