Personal Relevance

Jan 7, 2009

I’ve been watching a lot of The OC, Season 3 lately. Yes, I know it’s not exactly the best show ever made, but I really like it.

Why? A number of reasons, but mainly because I feel I can relate to it. The story of the 4 kids, graduating from high school and going to college – and having to deal with all that comes with that transition, saying goodbye to friends, the uncertainty of the future, etc. That’s something I can relate to. Sure, it’s probably a lot more dramatized than anything I’ll ever live through in my personal life, but in general, it’s something that’s personally relevant to me.

Yes, objectively, it might not be the best show, nor the best season. It may not have the best visuals, or the best acting (as my friend puts it, the characters seem flat, etc). But it holds relevance to me, it’s something I feel I can relate to, and as such I like it a lot.

And the importance of that cannot be overemphasized, in my opinion. Personal relevance. No matter what your product is, personal relevance trumps general quality, in my opinion. That’s not to say that you create a crappy product. But once you’re past a certain treshold, once your product is “pretty good”, any increase in quality can be trumped by an increase in relevance.

The challenge is figuring out who you want to reach, and tailoring the story you’re telling – and no matter what you’re doing, you are always telling a story – to that audience. Not always easy to do, but there are great rewards in doing that.

How are you crafting your story so that your target audience can relate to it more?

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Relevance over Simplicity

May 28, 2008

Mike Elgan wrote an article a few days ago about our search for the super easy super-phone.

And I think he makes a good point in the article, that goes beyond just cell phones.

In today’s world, there’s so much talk about information and feature overloads. People complain about everything being too busy, and talk about wanting simplicity.

As much as people talk about simplicity, that’s not the most important thing. The most important thing is relevance. If it’s relevant to the user, it’s fine. And the greatest form of relevance is personalization. That’s why you can have a busy homepage if you let your users organize it.

Personalization and relevance trumps everything else in today’s market, at least that’s what I think.

How are you ensuring that your products are relevant to your users?