The 4 Components of Happy Products

Many entrepreneurs believe that the business world is like a jungle. You're either the hunter or the prey. Others believe that business is like a war or an endless set of problems to be solved. But perhaps there's another way

Many entrepreneurs believe that the business world is like a jungle. You’re either the hunter or the prey.

Others believe that business is like a war or an endless set of problems to be solved. “Survival of the fittest; only the strong survives,” is the mantra of many. The price of customer acquisition is constantly on the rise, and many business leaders are slowly beginning to realize that the old ways will not produce the same results. If you believe in war – you probably think that you should do more of the same, work harder, push, hustle and make things happen.


But perhaps there’s another way.

Think of newly built products, ones that have been built in the last 5-10 years. The products that were born into this hyper-competitive reality. Think of WeWork, Slack, Houzz, AirBnB and Uber, for instance. Why are they successful?

There are probably many answers, but I’d like to focus on one that doesn’t make much “sense”: they give people a happy experience. Sounds elusive, right? I mean, one person’s idea of a thrill might be another’s idea of a nightmare. How would you define what “happy experience” entails?

In their book “Happy Money: the science of Happier Spending”, Dunn and Norton argue that there are 4 components to a great experience:

1. It brings you together with people, fostering a sense of social connection. Happiness is usually correlated with contact with other people. You meet people either virtually or physically. They create a setting in which others “recognize” you and your value (either as a customer, a friend, a service provider or an expert).

2. It makes a memorable story you’ll enjoy retelling. In this post-mass media society, we’re not beginning to recall again that one of the most influential powers in business is the stories we here from friends, not from brands. Make someone excited and he’ll tell everyone he knows. If he has the right persona, his friends will shortly come along.

3. Linked to your sense of who you are or want to be. We use products and services to define who we are. Young people have a strong preference to use different products than their parents and sometimes their younger siblings. We strive to be unique and advanced, and we’re looking for the opportunities to show it (to ourselves and to others).

4. Provides a unique opportunity, eluding easy comparison with other available options. Some would call it “Blue Ocean” strategy, but the idea is to change the consumption pattern in your category in a meaningful way. Things that were once important are no longer so – and other things which are not on the decision making criteria are now the critical factors.

Next time you consider the future, strategy and marketing of your products try to understand: is my product a happy product?

And if not, can I make it one?

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