Apple Music fmr VP on Product Design (Part 3)

When I start working with a new product design team, the first question is “what does our audience trust us to do?” Said differently, “what value will they find in our product?” The clearest attribute that you can communicate with your audience is something that feels very true.

As product leaders, we need to share a common understanding with users about they will feel in a specific situation. This comes back to focusing on the promise that you want to deliver. When I start brainstorming about creating a promise, I use the Maslow hierarchy to identify the best focal point for a given product.

Essentially, the Maslow model outlines the basic needs that we have as humans. For example, physiological needs are the foundation of the pyramid (air, food, water) – and the top of the pyramid is self-actualization (creativity, spontaneity, etc.).

During my time at Beats, we used the Maslow hierarchy to find a promise that would work for our product. We realized that our promise was all about self-actualization – because music is naturally creative and spontaneous. In other words, music is a cultural entity that connects with great moments. For example, it’s the feeling you get driving home when that perfect song comes on the radio.

In developing our product at Beats, we focused on this specific moment to develop our promise. Our product design was focused entirely on connecting more people to the music they love. Ultimately, this level of personal connectivity does not come from looking at data. It takes a story combined with a clear promise to bring it all together.


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Click here for Part 2

About the speaker
Ryan Walsh Member