“I’d argue that Microsoft has already developed an iPod challenger, and it’s been on sale for a couple of weeks at Best Buy and Amazon.com for about $200… The device is called the Clix.”
I was interviewed for this article and got a nice quote. Brier has more details about the development experience over on his blog. Just one correction- we didn’t specify the silicon for use, but we did provide direct feedback as decisions were being made .
I also want to call out the amazing work done by the iRiver America team. The packaging is largely to their credit- we provided critical feedback and encouraged a new, more refined design based on existing packaging in Korea. The iRiver team did all the heavy lifting and it shows.
At the end of the day, my job was two-fold: As UX (User Experience) PM, to play the part of the consumer end to end- to apply what I’ve learned working in this space for 7+ years and document our recommendations. From there, we (the v-team as we called ourselves) agreed on relative priorities w/ iRiver up-front. We acknowledged where we disagreed without ego or hubris, and worked together on a solution in the interest of the customer. We were invited to provide input in every meeting on the UX, system flow and regular milestones on naming, branding, messaging, out of box experience and more.
Shifting gears for a second. Looking to the development process we used as a case study, Chris Pirillo is still largely right in my opinion about the “User”. Except it’s users vs. the traditional development process that’s the issue- not the developers themselves. PMs, Devs, Testers, and Marketing are still WAY too silo’ed from their customers and residing in the echo chamber. I get irate when a PM or Dev tells me they’re too busy to go on a customer visit or staff a booth and talk to customers about their product. I look for these opportunities. But a better requires a multi-disciplined approach working together on a daily basis as well as talking to customers. That’s why we instituted a Scrum Model with “butts in seats at 9:30am accountability” on this project. Our mission statement, “Help our partner build a device we’re proud to recommend to family and friends everywhere with WMP11 Beta”. In my opinion, that’s what made it work so well this time around. And the fact that with the U10, iRiver was already on their way to building a great product. I speak for many within Microsoft when I say thank you to Reigncom/iRiver for the opportunity to work together.
P.S. I’m getting out of my echo chamber later this week at Gnomedex. See you there. And a question for the future- where else should I go to further get out of the echo chamber?