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Invisible products

When your clock rang this morning, you probably turn the lights on. Maybe you used the microwave to heat some of your breakfast, and maybe you watched the news on the TV. For all of that, electricity was used, and you didn’t even think of it. Electricity is so obvious, we take it for granted and it becomes unnoticeable. And that’s a very good criteria to evaluate a lot of things: the product is as good as it is unnoticeable over time.

Of course, when something is new, it is so cool… that new piece of software that makes our jobs easier is all we can think about for a whole week! But after that, we stop to think about it and we can’t even remember how life was so difficult in comparison, before. And that’s fine, that is a natural process.

As developers, we like that our job is seen and appreciated by people. It is nice to hear “what a nice product“, or “it is so easy to use“, or even “every day we talk about your product and how good it is“. But if after a while people are still actively thinking of your product, maybe it is time to put your ego aside and turn on an alert! Something is probably wrong!

Once you solved a problem, it is solved. You can’t solve it twice. But you may cause the same problem several times. Precisely because of that, it is so much easier to spoil relationships than it is to to create long-lasting ones. A product that is “perceived” by people is probably causing problems, not solving them.

As strange as it might sound, one of the biggest compliments you could get about your product is something like “I don’t know, we use it, but I never even thought about it“. When something is not useful, we simply don’t use it. When something creates problems, we get angry and create a very strong negative opinion about it. When something solves a problem, we accept it and incorporate it into our lives and stop thinking about it. It becomes “normal”.

On the security market, it is essencial for every company that their products are “invisible”, a natural part of the environment, of people’s lives and routines. It might sound bad for our ego that we are not getting daily compliments, but in this case silence is the biggest witness to our success.