By Apple training their employees to ask these simple questions, product managers and product marketing managers can learn a lot.

Here is why:

Traditionally, this is how a company builds, markets and sells a product:

How Most Companies Develop and Market a Product or Service
First companies build the product.  Then just before they launch the product or service (or in some cases they launched it already and it does not sell very well) they then try to figure out:
  • Who they built the product for (personas)
  • How it might be used (use cases)
  • Who the competition is
  • What the features are that were built into the product
  • How to position it in the market
  • What markets to target
  • What is the messages that will be used to try to sell the product

All too frequently, by being late with answers to these questions the end result is failure.

A better way to build products is probably the way Apple does it:

How Apple develops and markets its products
From the “flow” above, Apple, on the other hand, seems to figure out first what people “do”!
  • Why they do it
  • When they do it
  • Where they do it
  • How they do it

If they find in their research lots of people doing the same kinds of things… then they look at the technologies available or that could be developed or acquired, that would enable people to get their “dos” done faster, better, and more enjoyably than ever before.

Think about what Apple has done over the years:

Think personal computing: Macintosh

Mobile music delivery: iPod

Portable computer that does more than just make phone calls… Internet in your pocket: iPhone

Mobile media delivery device: iPad

And now a computer output/input device on your wrist, Apple’s most personal device:  Apple Watch

By computer, I am just using that as a shorthand for all the things people do on their computers… Get information, communicate, entertain, learn etc.

So at Apple it’s all about the “do”.  Not what competitors are doing.  Not about market sizes or even market share.  Its about the “do”.