When I’m giving product feedback I always drop it off with good intentions. I give a lot of product feedback where I work and a lot of places I don’t.

However, it always confuses me when an obvious thing becomes trivial so I thought I’d try to put it into a different context…

Let’s say I have a yard full of grass.

It’s part of my home. It’s part of the product I take care of that my neighbors and the multitude of people who go past my home interact with, visually.

The yard is an important piece of my home. It’s full of grass and when my grass looks like shit, I look like shit.

If my grass looks like shit then I know it looks like shit and I know I need to water it, or mow it, or plant more of it.

I don’t need someone to stop over for a second opinion. I either water, mow it, or plant more of it and help it or I ignore it and it gets worse.

I don’t need a landscape architect or a neighbor to point out that my grass looks like shit. I have eyes and know that brown grass/long grass/dead grass this time of year in Iowa means I don’t have healthy grass.

If I don’t help my grass and it just gets worse and looks so shitty the neighbors (those experiencing my yard) have to write me letters about how shitty my grass looks then I’m definitely not taking care of my grass. I don’t need to measure their unhappiness with my grass against their proximity to that grass on a daily basis to know something is wrong.

My grass looks like shit.

I know that. They know that. Everyone who drives past knows that. We all know that because the grass is brown and shit is brown.

The grass looks like shit.

I don’t solicit people driving by my house with a sign that tells them I will pay them for their opinion on my grass to further the decision to take care of my grass. I know my grass looks like shit without trading my paycheck for confirmations that it does look like shit.

In the time I’m paying a stranger for their opinion on my grass that looks like shit I should just water it, or mow it, or plant more of it.

I already know my grass looks like shit. I should just do something about it.

If someone yells at me to inform me that my grass looks like shit I don’t survey their car, driving habits, or socioeconomic status… I already know my grass looks like shit.

I don’t think about how fast they were driving or where their journey began this morning. I look at my grass, which looks like shit.

I don’t explain to myself in complex terms why my grass doesn’t look like shit and create calculations for why I may be misunderstanding their opinion.

My grass looks like shit.

I don’t go ask my neighbors if I should water my grass if it’s brown. I just water it or I don’t. I don’t go ask them because I should already be watering it because I have enough pride in my home to take care of it.

If I took the time to ask my neighbors what they think without watering it, I’m pretty ridiculous because it’d take me as much time to turn on a sprinkler and fix the problem as it would to walk over and ask their opinion.

Also, my neighbors would probably think I was a moron for asking them something that anyone with eyes can plainly see.

My grass looks like shit.

To recap, I water the grass if it’s brown. That’s the obvious choice. I don’t run around polling strangers to create additional feedback. I just water it.

If there is a problem I prefer to fix it rather than having someone else reassure me that it’s a problem. I’m talking of course about my shitty looking grass.

Putting it into a product context.

Sometimes a few things are obvious and polling people over it gets really trivial.

  • If it looks like shit and is obvious. Just fix it.
  • If there’s a brown bar somewhere it doesn’t belong, just fix it.
  • If there’s a missing function that’s part of an experience, just fix it.

I’m not going to trivialize this by making a parallel to something crazy like the pyramids… So I chose grass that looks like shit because everyone has seen dead or dying grass. It’s obvious when you see it… It looks like shit.

I think it’s important to keep the parallel simple because people working in complex systems sometimes forget to think simply.

I’m guilty of it too at times.

In closing.

If the guy who sods my yard drives over part of it with his truck and ruins his work, he doesn’t come get me to confirm it looks like shit… He just puts a new layer down of new grass.

Why would he just fix it? Becuase, the grass looks like shit!

If your grass looks like shit, just fix it.