Friday Funny: United's Red Carpet

United is now offering Red Carpet service at the airport. “Premier” customers go across the red carpet; “regular” customers don’t. Does this seem silly to anyone else? None of the premier customers think it’s special but it’s somewhat likely to offend the regular ones. And it’s so clearly an afterthought because there isn’t adequate room in the gate area for the special aisle.

This is why “user interface” is a phrase that usability experts despise. The implication is that you can slap a UI onto an existing product to make it user-friendly. Did some marketer at United say, "Our customer satisfaction will go up if we throw a red carpet on the floor." The red carpet doesn’t make a better experience and its clearly not integrated with the reality of the gate area.

While I’m on the subject, are your marketing programs in sync with your operational realities? How often does your marketing department have a great idea that can’t be implemented or that generate the wrong results? Do you generate leads even though sales people don't want them?

What’s so frustrating is the silo nature of the typical organization, the disconnect between development, marketing, sales, and others. As a product manager, you should step back from your daily grind at look at the whole product experience through the eyes of buyers and users. Is it integrated? Or merely a disconnected set of parts?

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson was a founding instructor at Pragmatic Institute, a role he held for more than 15 years before he left to start Under10 Playbook. In his return to Pragmatic Institute, Steve supports the complete learning path for product teams, ensuring they are fully armed for success. 

Over the course of his career, Steve has helped thousands of companies and tens of thousands of product professionals implement product management processes. He has worked in the high-tech arena since 1981, rising through the ranks from product manager to chief marketing officer. Steve has experience in technical, sales and marketing management positions at companies that specialize in both hardware and software. In addition, he is an author, speaker and advisor on product strategy and product management.

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