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Alan Cooper on Becoming a Better Marksman

I was speaking with author Alan Cooper last week, and the topic rolled around to business axioms. If you have ever read any of Alan’s books you know that his business and design axioms are are featured prominently, so it not very surprising that our conversations generally end up being about the business, design, or the business of design (or model railroading - but I digress.)

During our conversation, Alan hit upon something that resonated with me. “You won’t become a better marksman by enlarging the target”

I can think of a variety of situations where this axiom comes into play, but I’m curious - what does this mean to you?

  • Aaron Oppenheimer

    I think this make sense if it means this: if you’re not good at understanding what the market wants, just adding a pile of features to a product won’t make it more attractive.

    But if you’re good at understanding what the market needs, I believe that there can be a tradeoff between honing a design to be a 100% solution for a market, and using that time to create an 80% solution for a much bigger market. In that case, you don’t need to be a better marksman - you just need to look at the problem differently and aim at a bigger target.

    It all depends on the goal of the product. As usual!

    Nice blog, btw.


  • Chris

    Hi Aaron,

    Thanks for your comment, and welcome to the site. I hope you find it useful and stop by from time to time.