The biggest mistake a technology company can make is to think that they’re a technology company. It leads to the mistaken belief that better tech spec means better product means market success.
David Hepworth is an unmissable writer on entertainment and culture, and also occasionally strays into marketing. This piece on the the difficulty of competing with Apple on rational grounds struck a chord:
Playing with it [a Sony Walkman] just now it struck me how difficult it must be in the personal electronics space these days, having to compete with Apple. It doesn’t matter how many qualities your product might have, Apple is the one that holds the high ground where dwells desire. A year ago a young friend demonstrated all the features of his iPod competitor, many of which were superior to Apple, but he did it more in sorrow than conviction, as if he knew that the playground prestige battle had already been lost
It reminded me of this similar article in Penny Arcade, which nailed it so brutally and beautifully that every tech CEO should staple it to his desk.
It’s got to be so annoying to compete with Apple… when you come out with what is (on paper) a better version of the same thing, maybe even multiple times over, it’s too late. You made a “product” to compete with their “product,”… only to discover that they hadn’t made a product at all – they made a narrative. A statement about how technology should interface with a life.