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Opinionated Is Good

Fred Perrotta
Fred Perrotta
1 min read

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In a user interview years ago, a customer said he found his Tortuga backpack to be too "opinionated."

I got a little obsessed with that idea.

A product should be opinionated. A designer—and by extension, his products—should have a point of view.

Opinions are good. You just need to find customers who share them.

Products without opinions are too generic and derivative to be successful.

I know because we've made the mistake of trying to sell them. For Tortuga, this happens when we try to do an unoriginal version of an existing product. Or, when we've tried to check the boxes by filling out the holes in our product line.

This just happened. I got a sample of a new bag last month. Nothing was technically wrong with it. The factory did a perfectly good job with the sample. But it bummed me out. It was so blah.

I knew that no one would buy it, and, anyone who did wouldn't be excited when they opened it. I wasn't excited about it. So why would a customer be?

We paused development immediately. I have an idea for another version of that bag with a stronger POV. We'll sample it and see where it leads. More importantly, we'll see how it makes us feel.