Thanks to the ‘value add’ on my SanDisk USB memory stick I’ve become a hater of their products.
The product managers at SanDisk decided that memory sticks were boring and that they needed to make them more interesting. So my memory stick comes with software that ‘adds value’. When you plug it in to a PC it fires up a little app that is supposed to help you organise your music and make it easy to copy files.
That takes time, so the memory stick ends up being slow to use.
It takes learning. So the memory stick takes mental effort to use.
And it means my memory stick has a bunch SanDisk’s files on. They aren’t mine and I can never delete them.
I can sympathise with the product managers at SanDisk. They have a product that is a commodity and they want to differentiate it. They could have looked at the size, the style, the speed or the capacity.
The problem is that they’ve tried to add features and make the product ‘more than just a memory stick’.
A memory stick should be large in capacity, small in size, quick, uncomplicated and personal. Those are the basic values of the product. The pleasure of a memory stick lies in its ability to solve the problem of moving stuff simply.
SanDisk’s new features undermine three of those. Every time I use it I’m reminded that SanDisk makes products that are slow, complicated and that they mix their files in with mine.
When ‘value add’ undermines the basic values of the product – even just a little bit – then it damages the product.
More features and extra capability can mean less value.