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From iPhone to Google Glass: Lessons in Product Success and Failure for Product Managers

The launch of a successful product is one of the most exhilarating experiences a product manager can have. It is the culmination of months or even years of hard work, research, and development. Every product manager has experienced failure at some point in their career, along with the highs. In this article, we examine a product failure as well as a product success from the viewpoint of a product manager.


  • Product Success: The iPhone

The iPhone was probably the most successful product launch in history. When it was released in 2007, it completely changed the mobile phone market. As a product manager, there are a few key lessons we can learn from the iPhone's success.


First, the iPhone was a product that truly understood its target audience. Apple recognized that people didn't just want a phone, they wanted a device that could do everything. By creating a product that combined a phone, MP3 player, and internet browser, Apple was able to meet the needs of a wide range of consumers.


Second, the iPhone was a product that was launched with a clear vision. Apple didn't try to be everything to everyone but instead focused on delivering a great user experience. It was this focus on simplicity and usability that made the iPhone stand out from its competitors.

Finally, the iPhone was a product that was backed by a strong brand. Apple had built up a loyal fan base through its previous products, and this fan base was excited to see what the company would come up with next. By leveraging this brand loyalty, Apple was able to create a product that people were excited to buy.



  • Product Failure: Google Glass

In contrast to the iPhone's success, Google Glass was a product that failed to gain traction in the market. While it was an innovative product with the potential to change how we interact with technology, it ultimately failed to capture the public's imagination. So, what went wrong?


First, Google Glass suffered from a lack of understanding of its target audience. While the product was marketed as a wearable device, it was unclear who the device was actually meant for. Was it for busy professionals? Tech enthusiasts? Gamers? Without a clear target audience, it was challenging to create a product that met anyone's needs.


Second, Google Glass was a product that was launched without a clear vision. While it was a cool piece of technology, it was unclear what problem it was meant to solve. Was it supposed to be a replacement for smartphones? A more convenient way to access information? Without a clear vision, it was difficult to create a product that people actually wanted.

Finally, Google Glass was a product that was launched without a strong brand. While Google is a well-known brand, it didn't have the same level of brand loyalty that Apple did when it launched the iPhone. As a result, it wasn't easy to create excitement around the product.



It is important for a product manager to learn from both successes and failures when managing a product. We can create products that meet the needs of our target audience, have a clear vision, and are backed by a strong brand by understanding what made products like the iPhone successful and what made products like Google Glass failed.

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