OSCON Creating Passionate Users

Kathy Sierra’s talk on Creating Passionate Users was quite good, unfortunately it was very visual and involved several group projects (even having the slides won’t do it justice). Thus it is quite difficult for me to sum up. The key take away is that getting users passionate about your product is that your product needs to empower the user and fade into the background (I know, it seems like there’s a disconnect). The secret is to get to the state where your customers have an “I rule!” experience — they care about how they feel from using your product, not about you or your company. Her primary example comes from game developers called the experience spiral. It is a cycle starting with a compelling benefit then there is a (long) period of activity with an eventual resolution or payoff for the user where they achieve the next level (which involves new capabilities and a new set of compelling benefits to drive them on again). Related to this was getting your users into a state of flow where time passes quickly for them because they are so absorbed by your product. Some of the ways you can facilitate passion for your product are:

  • Helping users to connect with one another (community), such as discussion forums, local user groups, something for advanced users, etc.
  • Myths, legends/lore, stories, recognizable people (special users and/or the developers), special insider knowledge (community jargon), etc.
  • The tribe / Pride items such as t-shirts, bumper stickers, mugs, decals — ways for users to demonstrate that they belong.
  • The wake, allow others to create products or services associated with your product (see the iPod effect), such as plug-ins, add-ons, training materials, etc.
  • When they want to give you money … what do you have for them?

Once a link to the slides becomes available, I’ll post it here. Much of this information is available on the Passionate Users Blog and it looks like Kathy will be coming out with a Creation Passionate Users book in January 2006. TAGS: OSCON OSCON2005 Passionate Passion