The ultimate consumer

The ultimate consumer

: The ultimate consumers are the ones who design your products for you — so you know they will like it and buy it. In this new world, consumers will also market for you and handle customer service for you but the ultimate is when they go to the effort to tell you exactly what they want in the hopes you will give it to them, if you’re listening.

See TreoCentral Treonauts today, redesigning the Treo 650 into the Treo 710.

: UPDATES: I made a terrible mistake, attributing the redesign to TreoCentral not Treonauts, both of which I love reading. Andrew Carton was most gracious in his email to me; I would have been at least a little snarky. So I’m sorry. That’s Treonauts.

And Doc Searls is right: I should have said customer instead of consumer in all those references because it was Doc who taught me that consumer is an industrial-age word that assumes, to paraphrase the man, that we’re all sitting back, consuming content, and crapping cash. Search and replace.

  • http://doc.weblogs.com Doc Searls

    Why not “customer” instead of “consumer?”
    The problem for most manufacturers is that they still think of their customers as consumers, which Jerry Michalski defines as “gullets who live only to gulp products and crap cash.”
    When customers had no choice but to behave as consumers, the difference between the two was academic. Now that customers can contribute real ideas to manufacturers, and not just cash for sales, the difference is much larger, and more important.

  • http://theheadlemur.typepad.com alan herrell – the head lemur

    Nice Idea, but it will slide down the wall with the rest of the crap that hasn’t stuck
    Example:Roomba
    http://theheadlemur.typepad.com/product_blog/2004/12/a_christmas_roo.html
    Laundry Baskets
    http://theheadlemur.typepad.com/ravinglunacy/2004/12/laundry_baskets.html
    MSI TV Master
    http://theheadlemur.typepad.com/ravinglunacy/2003/12/msi_tvnywhere_m.html
    In all three cases I also email the companies. to date there has been no acknowledgment from any of the companies involved.
    Googling these bring them up in the first page of results, which leads me to the conclusion that companies do not care or no roads lead to me.
    These companies exhibit the
    ”revenue entitlement mechanism” theory of profit that Hamish explains at Cardboard Spaceship
    http://hnewlands.typepad.com/cardboard_spaceship/2005/02/if_your_marketr_1.html

  • http://www.glcq.com paul_lukasiak

    Hi! I’m just pissing on a fire hydrant here! :)

  • http://socialcustomer.typepad.com Christopher Carfi

    Jeff, you’ve just given another great example of the emerging customer remix culture. Nice.

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Doc. You are absolutely right. In every BlogBoy PowerPoint I give now, I quote your quote on “consumer” as an industrial age word about people who consume content and crap cash. Always gets a laugh. Hope it sells some copies of Cluetrain.

  • Mr. Green Jeans

    Great! I could put the Treo 650 in my front pocket. And I can put their Treo 710 in the trash.

  • Gregg

    Consumer/customer – what’s the difference when what’s really happening is that the capitalists have now build such a strong atmosphere of commodity fetishism that the consumer/customers are willing to do the R&D and marketing for them. Its a capitalists wet dream – build a generic product, and let the lemmings hack/re-design/re-mix it on their own dime, and then market it through the viral nature of blogs, etc.

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