The dilemma of hyper success for firms

Since some of us were naive students asked to mug the begineer concepts epoused by Kotler, we students were de facto led to believe that the success of a product or service we sold is a good thing. More success is a great thing and hyper success the holy grail.

Now place yourself at customer# 53912482 of ….. Bombay Metro at 8 am, Uber, The City of Bangalore/Dhaka, The Woodstock concert,  tourist traps like Venice/Taj/Eiffel tower/Lady Liberty/Times Square, AT&T’s data service in Manhattan or the evening commute on TfL.

These are all ‘products’ that became, in various degrees, hypersuccessful and this actually lowered the tone of the user experience. And the users colluded to buy the product en mass, without conscious coordination, most ‘product managers’ fail to anticipate or prepare for this outcome. They are usually busy planning for the other scenario (what if NO ONE comes to the dance!!?!)

I suspect there is a threshhold in the lifecycle of a popular service/product when its supporting systems’ ability to deliver  a consistent user experience in line with the original mission statement is compromised and the product experience turns negative on account of this mass assault. Mapped out I think it will look like this :

As a owner/manager we need to work not just at ensuring we plan to prevent a scenario of a too little user base (call this a ‘flop’ or a ‘dud’) but also map what the infrastructure is  capable of handing the upper end and still delivering on the intended user experience. Because somethings sometimes become too successful for their own good.

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