“The Pursuit of WOW!”

“There is a tremendous amount of craftsmanship between a great idea and a great product!”  

–       Steve Jobs

Back in the dark ages, the 1990’s, we still listened to the audio version of books on a pre-iPod medium known as cassettes (dark ages indeed).  Rustling through mom’s basement recently, I came across the mammoth, watertight Rubbermaid container that still holds my large collection of “books on tape,” as we called them. In the early 90’s, my hour long commute from home in Marlborough, MA up to FTP Software in North Andover was a slog.  This big box full of tapes bled my wallet, but turned my Honda Civic into my entertainment and my classroom.

There are many gems in that box, but the one that made the plane ride back home with me was Tom Peter’s “The Pursuit of Wow!”  This was my introduction to Peters, though I have certainly gone back and absorbed “In Search,” and his other treasures. As a “Peters-primer”, the audio version was the way to do it.  The booming vigor and passion of Tom Peter’s voice on the audio becomes the voice you hear in every Tom Peters book or blog or article from then on.

[From the Forward of the printed version- use your Tom Peters declarative reading voice]:

“’Wow’ might sound a bit frizzy.  I think not.  I’m repeatedly struck by the parade of “new” cars that look like every other car, by how many newly opened French restaurants or just-launched PCs or software packages fail to zap you, by how one Big Six audit service resembles all the others.  And I’m also struck by how timid most people are in fending off staleness.  Then they wonder why they become a statistic in the continuing middle management and senior professional blood bath.”

For those of you who don’t place the time based on the “Big Six audit” reference, next year will be twenty years since this book was put out.  My truck is old enough to still have a cassette player (the depravity- no iPhone jack either!) so of course I gave it another listen. It brought me right back to the same excitement I felt on all those dark autumn commutes down 495.

I started with a Steve Jobs quote about the delta between a great idea and a great product. (BTW, with his passing, it’s now Product Management scripture that every Powerpoint or Product related article or posting must contain a Steve Jobs quote).  This Jobs quote caught my eye recently because of the word “craftsmanship.”  In business school, Craig Benson, the founder of Cabletron (and later Governor of New Hampshire) guest taught one of our classes.  He had three things on the board, all written in my notes somewhere, but the one I never forgot was the word “craftsmanship.” He went on about its importance at length.

Hmmm. That’s two billionaire’s telling you about the importance of craftsmanship.  I’ve always loved a great idea.  I’ve always personally been a pretty good idea generator.  However, I have also always been very cognizant of the saying “a great idea not executed is worthless.”  So in thinking about starting a new blog about the profession of “products,” the idea and methods of “craftsmanship” that produce “wow” seems the perfect theme.

Of course, the title “HuntingWOW” is homage to the book “The Pursuit of Wow!,” but it is also to the ideas and excitement inside its pages.  The “pursuit,” (the craftsmanship) is really part of the joy of a great product (do I sound like a total pontificating ass yet? Ahh–the first post is filler anyway – no one is going to go back and read it).

This blog is a playground to analyze and explore the craftsmanship that produces great products.  I plan to highlight things I think are great, share my own view on Product Management and Product Marketing, make a few predictions, and throw out a few “free” ideas (you’d need to supply the craftsmanship).

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