Would You Use Your Company's Product If You Weren't An Employee?


One of the questions we frequently get asked at work is "would you recommend the company's products and services to your friends and family?"

It's a question which I've been asked in just about every company I've joined - and it's getting increasingly harder for me to answer.

Obviously, if you work in a B2B company making industrial blast furnaces, it's unlikely you're going to recommend Aunty Joan buy a ForgeMaster 5000 - but for those of us who work on products for the public it's a fascinating question.

Partly it's a matter of drinking your own champagne (or eating your own dogfood, if you're gauche) - an excellent way of debugging your product and seeing what features you think it needs.

More importantly, it's a question about whether you believe in your company. Do you trust that the experience they offer is superior to their rivals, and that the product will suit your needs?

Of course, you should regularly be trying your competitors' products to ensure that you're keeping pace with the market.

But, to take a simple example, should an employee of Coca-Cola prefer drinking Pepsi?

What happens when you - or your peers - outgrow the product you're working on? Sometimes I look at what I'm helping to create and think "this is so far removed from my personal needs that I have trouble understanding why anyone would want it..."

For lots of people, a job is just a job - there's no intrinsic meaning in it other than a means to earn money. If you're heavily invested financially in a company, you probably have a strong emotional investment as well. For most of us, I guess, we often take the job that we need; not the job that we want.

Here's a quick experiment - go to your favourite jobs portal and do a search for "a passion for".
Take a good look at all those jobs - do you really think there are enough potential employees out there with "a passion for bringing men's shoe sales into the 21st century" to staff an entire company?

No. As employers and founders we have to accept that not everyone shares the same sense of "mission" as we do. It's brilliant when they do - but we shouldn't reckon on everyone from the Accountants to the... err... "people who's jobs begin with Z" to have a burning affinity for our products.

We should strive to listen to our customers, to attempt to understand their needs and unconscious desires, we should even try to appreciate what it is we're building. Deep down, though, I don't think it's always necessary for every employee to believe in their company's product.

One thought on “Would You Use Your Company's Product If You Weren't An Employee?

  1. Zookeepers. (a job beginning with Z).. Although I reckon that is an area where there is a lot of "passion for..."

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