In another post I explained how someone bought a product we make... then found somebody else to make a slightly different version for him, with a few things added on, and is now talking trash about our product (the very same he basically copied) while promoting his.
As a side note to this... It's gotten me thinking about how seriously I should take customers wishes and opinions, when designing products. What this guy basically did was simply make our product bigger, which does make it better. I knew this years ago, but purposely chose not to make it that big. Why? Because I had casually talked with numerous potential customers, and most told me they didn't want one that big. Having a very large version of this widget would make things considerably more difficult when using it, and it would also raise the price... None of which the customers said they want. So I went about designing the widget to the basic parameters that customers claimed they wanted. Also... In general, I have often heard from customers that they prefer not being hounded by companies... They prefer being left alone, and when they want something, they'll come to you. So I typically do not partake in any sort of hard sell activities. I don't do mass emails, or anything like that.
Well... The product has done OK over the years, but it could have been better. Then this guy comes out with his version... When I compare the number he claims he has sold in just 1/2 year... It's about the same number that took me 3 years to sell. I think part of the reason for that, is that he has been very aggressive in his sales... He hounds people on forums and has also done mass emails.
So I have to say, at this point... I'm kind of wondering why I bother to listen to customers. The version they said they wanted has not sold as well as I hoped. The version this other guy has offered goes against everything most people said they wanted... It's bigger, harder to setup, and more expensive. A third more actually. Customers also said they don't want to be hounded, yet they seem to be responding to that.
So is it very smart to listen to customers and actually believe them? In this case, it would appear not. I kind of feel like posting a notice to customers, saying that next time everybody tells me they want something made a certain way, I'm just going to ignore them.