You see it everywhere: customers demand features, sales say they can’t sell unless something is added, developers introduce random changes without anyone else knowing they are coming. Giving feedback and suggestions is essential for a company’s product to grow and develop, but having knowledge of the wider strategy and putting proper thought behind each change that is actually introduced is vital.
The alternative is scattered product design, which leads to a complicated product and a poor user experience. Companies and individuals must have the strength of their convictions to say no to others and themselves. Creating and continuing a great product takes time and thought, and is never just the result of a flash of inspiration developed and launched in a few hours.
Apple knew this; their products aren’t over-laden with features. They’ve taken the time to get what they do introduce right, and to say no to hundreds of other things. Some may argue that Apple has the luxury of doing this because it doesn’t matter if they lose a few customers, but it’s clear that part of the reason they got to this position is because they said no even when they couldn’t afford to lose customers or get bad press. Steve Jobs summarised this very well: if you introduce everything “the total is less than the sum of the parts… microcosmically they might have made sense. Macrocosmically they made no sense… Focusing is about saying no.”
Everyone has great ideas and the best intentions, but everyone is not a product manager.