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December 21, 2009 / jasonpinto

You are about to make a mistake

I really enjoy my car. It’s a 2006 Toyota Corolla, and I hardly ever have an uncomfortable moment with it (uncomfortable for me = having to take a car to a mechanic and woefully attempt to re-create the “bad” noise it’s making).

There is one feature that caused me to squirm a bit at first though. When I forget to do something, such as put on a seat belt or shut off my lights, it makes a really loud beeping noise.  But now — I couldn’t live without that warning or that noise.

Yes, I do not often need to turn on my lights. When it’s dark, they automatically turn on. But occasionally, I turn them on manually for an extra safety factor . But in those scenarios, when I finally reach my destination I never remember to turn the lights off.  But the Corolla always reminds/alerts/beeps at me before I exit the car.

Yes, it saves me from trouble and embarrassment.

Do you provide tools that embarrass people?

If we provide a quality product to people, we are enablers.  We may provide tools that allow them to become more powerful than they would have been without our tools.

No doubt, we may spend many hours ensuring our powerful product is easy to use, and accessible to many people.

But how close do we let them get to an edge without warning?

There will always be a group of people that take this stance: they bought the product or service, it’s completely on them to deal with the circumstances of their actions.

But if that’s our approach, we may want to get the towel ready.

Yes, the towel that will help us wipe the egg off of OUR face.

With the increased adoption of social media, the worlds of business and marketing have changed. Feedback is provided instantly. It can go viral in minutes across many channels, reaching millions of people. When that feedback is negative, it can have a powerful effect on our business.

Sure, there are ways to deal with it. There is plenty of advice on how to deal with a “bad” review or news item that is floating about our company, product or service.

But there is a better approach: prevent that from happening in the first place. Develop powerful products, but never forget to install the warning signals.

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