Nordic Track Book Club Review: Do You Matter?

From the title you’d think this book is some sort of existential read on the meaning of life.  In actuality it’s all about great design, brand, and the customer experience.  Do You Matter? How Great Design Will Make People Love Your Company was published in 2008. Personally I think they should have dropped the “Do you Matter” from the title, but hey, if it sells books. 3-out-of-5 [NordicTrack] Ski Stars.


p.6 The Razr did not transform Motorola’s culture.  The company had only a single product, and now Motorola is back in trouble because it tried to repeatedly milk this one product. To be blunt, Motorola doesn’t matter in the mobile market anymore.

p.7 The difference between a great product and a merely good product is that a great product embodies an idea that people can understand and learn about—an idea that grows in their minds, one they emotionally engage with.

p.9 Business people must understand how to design the customer experience or be laid to rest in the graveyard of irrelevance.

p.12 An iPod is a portal to a kaleidoscope of experience. An iPod is not just an object. Great products are about ideas, they’re not just objects.

p.15 Let’s go further and define design as the overt thoughtful development of the interaction points between you and your customer.

p.20 Does your company matter to your customers and constituents if you disappeared?  Would their lives be diminished in some way?  You matter to your customers to the degree that they have become emotionally invested in your continuing success—when they want you to win.

p.23 The design of the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai is so powerful that you don’t have to spend so much on marketing because it’s design is already doing the marketing for you.

p.28 You’ll have to get beyond usability for great design. It has to be desirable, too.

p.33 How do you resonate with your customers at an emotional level without excessive human interaction?  You design it in.

p.50 You don’t sacrifice the experience for growth. You drive growth from the quality of the experience.

p.55 Design is a living ongoing process that has to learn from mistakes, refresh itself and take new risks all the time.

p.57 Concept vigilance is part of an active integrated design.

p.58 Design-driven companies focus on people throughout the process. That’s what drives development. It all comes from the idea of creating an emotional response.

p.60 If a high level of attention to detail is not designed-in, then you’re going to be commoditized.  And there is no way you’re going to win a war of commoditization.

p.69 Recognize what part of your design a competitor can easily replicate and what amounts to a truly iconic experience that cannot be easily copied.

p.74 Design is really a methodology you use to shape and create a relationship between you and your customer.

p.76 You can learn a lot when you watch a customer unpack your product. Are they delighted or not? Did you make a good first impression?

p.86 So Target might be 5th in size behind Wal-Mart and others, but remain first in the hearts of many of its selective customers. It achieves this by design.

p.107 When your brand communicates well you create a context of expectations. The product is emotionally pre-qualified before a purchase is made.

p.110 When a bunch of individuals have the same gut feeling, you have a brand.  It’s not what you say it is, it’s what they say it is.

p.115 Another way to look at a brand is that it is like an individual’s character. That’s really what a brand is, the embodiment of a company’s character.

p.129 It is the task of any company that truly wants to be design-driven to watch the customer experience meter as the barometer of its survival.

p.136 Don’t play the game.  Change the game. Look to design to cover new territory.

p.210 People are seeking a great experience of being alive. We want things that are engaging, fun, personal, useful, productive and desirable, and emotionally rewarding.


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A long time developer, I was an early adopter of Linux in the mid-90's for a few years until I entered corporate environments and worked with Microsoft technologies like ASP, then .NET. In 2008 I released Sueetie, an Online Community Platform built in .NET. In late 2012 I returned to my Linux roots and locked in on Java development. Much of my work is available on GitHub.