Section 17 Compatibility with habits, lifestyles and values

February 7th, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments
WINNERS = Products which do not require the user to change any habits and which do not violate basic values.

In order for a product to be a success, it must be compatible with the habits, lifestyle, and values of the end users.  The success of a new product is totally dependent on a perception, by the target audience, that it will provide a benefit.  Any time or effort which must be expended in order to have the benefit, directly subtracts from the value of the benefit in the eyes of the end-user.

Products that require a great deal of time or effort to master “go against the grain” of society.  Very few products that “go against the grain” of society will succeed.

Here are several things which “go against the grain” of the end user.  Just try to make them:

1.  Change a habit.

2.  Vary their lifestyle or behavior pattern.

3.  Change their outlooks, perception, or values.

4.  Sit down, read, and understand complex instructions.

5.  Spend long periods of time to become proficient at using a product.

The more the product deviates from the habits, behavior patterns and values of the end user, the greater the direct benefit to the end user must be, otherwise there is no incentive to overcome the “agony” of change or concentration.  The advertising and educational costs will be much greater because you have to convince the buyers of the benefits.  A couple of good examples are the metric system which promoters assured us would be quickly phased in and which is still floundering, and the widely publicized flop of the “smokeless cigarette” developed and marketed by R.J. Reynolds tobacco company which fell on its face because it went against smokers’ established habits, and took far too long to light.

The most common mistake made here is to misjudge the value an end-user will place on any new product or feature which takes time, effort, or change before the end-user will be able to benefit from the use of the product.

For individual product developers, or owners of small companies, another common, yet often fatal, mistake is to misjudge or fail to analyze how a product coincides with THEIR OWN habits, lifestyle, and values as the product developer and marketer.  For instance, if time with your family is your most important value, you will not want to be “on the road” doing trade shows and setting up national “rep” networks, which some types of products will require.   If owning your own home is one of your primary values, then you may not want to risk taking out a second mortgage on your home to finance a start-up for a new product.   If you can’t make and sell the product yourself without “going on the road” or mortgaging your home, your options could be limited to selling the product to another company outright or licensing it to them for a royalty.  Your values will determine your options.

Without fail, every day I have clients ask me whether they should try to make and sell their product themselves or whether they should find a company to license their invention.  The answer is: you must make the choice that is compatible with your own habits, lifestyle, and values.

The very first step is to determine what your own personal values are.  Amazingly, very few people have ever sat down and figured out what their values really are, even though that should be the first and most important step in planning for their future.  Examining and evaluating your personal values and goals is as important to the success of your life as evaluating your product or invention is to its success.

I have worked with many clients over the years who THOUGHT they knew what their values were, but they were still unable to figure out what to do with their products.  The truth is, if you really know what your values are and what your priorities are, they will govern the choice you make about what to do with each idea you have.  Many times I have watched clients who thought they knew what their values were, come up with a different answer when they sat down and wrote them out.

The following is a method my dad authored to show his clients how a person’s values direct their life.  He taught me this system years ago, and I live by it.  The first time he showed it to me was when I was looking for a job at the “tender” age of 18, and I was looking through the newspaper trying to figure out what jobs I could apply for.  When I asked my dad what he thought, his first suggestion was that I should figure out what I really WANTED TO DO, and then go after a job in that field, regardless of the jobs available in the newspaper.  That seemed too simple, because it was based on the assumption that I would be able to do whatever I really wanted to do, rather than settle for what was available.  I threw away the newspaper, wrote out my values, decided what I wanted to do next, based on the system shown below, and I never looked back.  Over the years, my values changed, but the system has never let me down.  I use this system on every single product I develop, to help make my decision as to what I should do with that particular Idea. This system has helped many of my clients, and it will help you.  Use it!

The first step is to put down on a piece of paper the most important things in your life to you.  Be specific and don’t lie to yourself.  Your most important value may be:

Religion, family, health, money, security, independence, leisure time, fame, peer recognition, land ownership, travel, business ownership, “Toy” ownership (off-road vehicles, airplanes, boats) etc.

List all the things in your life that are important to you, and list them in the order of their importance to you.  Once you determine the most important things in your life, and their order of importance, you are then able to use this formula:

Your VALUES determine your PRIORITIES



All of the above constitute your OPTIONS in life


ACTS, ATTITUDES, AND HABITS become your life

Acts, attitudes and habits create the CONSEQUENCES of your life.  (Howard J. Riordan  (1913-1997)

Using the above formula makes it easy for an individual product developer to choose which products to pursue, and then, which options to exercise with that particular product.  A prolific developer will find there are products which may initially seem like a good idea, but simply do not fit the profile of acceptable products based on his or her individual habits, lifestyle or values.  My advice is to sell those products, or drop them like a stone, and move on to the next ones.



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