The Greatest Product Ever Designed

On my run the other morning, I realized that the greatest product ever designed didn’t happen in a lab or come as a result of opinion polls. Consider some of the characteristics of this amazing product: instant recognition, multiple models, multiple locations, and predictable interactions. Another aspect of a good product is the ease of marketing said product. This particular product doesn’t require a large ad campaign and often relies on word of mouth to differentiate between the various models.

Drum roll please…I speak of none other than the human body. (Imaginary air going out of imaginary balloon). How, you may ask, does the human body count as a product? Let’s put it into context. The purpose of a product is to be attractive so someone takes it home with them or at least is willing to engage for a few hours with it. Few things are more attractive to us than other people. And with the variety of models available, few things are more customized or personal. However, there’s a certain level of predictability, and thus comfort to the human form.

For instance, most everyone has the same parts: heads, arms, legs, etc. While these parts vary in specifics from person to person, they are easily recognizable. The same goes for the differences between the sexes.

I came to my conclusion about the human body on my run as I noticed how, without fail, every single car that went by with a male in it couldn’t help but look, or even stare, as our paths intersected. Sometimes these individuals made eye contact. Now, in the cars where only women were present, I got nothing. No look, head turn, or even acknowledgement of my existence, a somewhat scary prospect when sharing the road.

I’m neither a model nor a troll, so I know there’s nothing particularly eye-catching about me. But it’s like guys couldn’t help themselves. By my very existence as a female, I registered on their radar. The same thing happens if I’m driving somewhere, too. My eyes are pulled to the males, frequently ignoring the females.

What company wouldn’t sell its soul to generate a consistent response to its product like human beings do to each other? I think that’s why I’m so impatient with people who only focus on the marketing aspect and pay little attention to the quality of the product itself. I’ve written before about quality and my frustration over its lack in our modern world. I think the human body makes the perfect case for what can be accomplished if proper thought and investment is put into the outcome.

Too much of what clutters our landscape is crap, created with the sole purpose of generating as much money as possible, as soon as possible, before people discover that’s it’s really just crap. Will we ever say, “Enough?”


3 Responses to “The Greatest Product Ever Designed”

  1. June 30, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    awesome 🙂 Today I myself experienced what I think was “a look”, which is somewhat gratifying because I don’t ever recall this happening to me. I was walking purposefully from my car at Starbucks, wearing a new pair of dark washed jeans and a white t-shirt that fit pretty well, with some decent shoes. A woman in a SUV looked right at me for a long moment as she drove by. It occurs to me that it’s possible that she was just looking to see if there was oncoming traffic, but I nevertheless enjoyed the moment for what it was 🙂

  2. June 30, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    I echo the “awesome” from Dave. This is definitely worthy of the printer! I am guilty as charged of being “gender biased” with my attention.

    Working in product development, I’m with you on the whole issue of too much crap in the marketplace.

    By the way, your roadway experience happens to me when mowing my lawn – the passing traffic usually casts a glance my way, some even slow down.

    Very gratifying at first, but I’ve come to realize that it is probably just sheer shock at seeing someone so “Un-Tan” reflecting so much sunlight.

  3. 3 Britt
    July 2, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    @Dave: You say you’ve never noticed the look before, but I can guarantee you’ve gotten it previously. I didn’t notice it myself until I started running, then I started seeing it happen doing other things. It’s like our brains can’t resist the lure of the human form.

    @Shannon: Growing up, mowing the lawn was an excuse to work on my tan. So much to my mother’s chagrin I wore a swimsuit and shorts to mow, which probably accounted for much for the looks I received. I also think there’s something hypnotic about mowing. I think people get caught up in the pattern being created by the mower.

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