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A Well Researched and Developed Product Does Not Guarantee Success Either

Dear Sophia Mao,

Recently, I read your intriguing article, “Why Amazon’s Experimental Approach to Product Design is a Problem”. I was convinced about how consumers are harmed by companies that test products still in development. But I think early product testing brings a lot of company benefits and long term customer benefits.

Many companies look to solve problems in everyday life. They might do it for the money, but the convenience successful products provide helps consumers. I learned that creating a successful product takes lots of trial and error. Jeff Bezos said that Amazon’s failures cost billions of dollars. If businesses use the solution of fully developing their product, the failure of it would be expensive. Since Amazon tests their products in mid-development, they can see if it is on the right path. Then, more adjustments can be made to the product or it can be abandoned.

Unsuccessful products can become a lot of trash. For Amazon, failure has been especially frequent because of the early release of undeveloped products. Products that fail end up in landfills and are difficult to be reused. If products undergo more development, the advanced technology could be more reusable and it might increase the probability of success. However, business can be very difficult sometimes, because products may work in theory but do not get sales. Then, the developed product would still make some trash. Trashing a developed product can be more wasteful, because developers produce many replicas when they believe in the product. If it fails, the trash can add up. For instance, the failure of Amazon’s Fire Phone led to Amazon paying $170 million to get rid of the unsold phones. The creation and destruction of the phones are harmful to the environment. If a company spent more time and research than Amazon, that company might produce more phones than Amazon due to more confidence. Then, the failure of the phone would be even more costly.

Customers have lost quite some money and have been left with products that are purposely unable to operate after being discontinued. Short-term, this is harmful for customers. But in the long run, mid-development testing can save time, so that customers can quickly receive a great product. Furthermore, products are typically discontinued or trashed because of lacking sales. This shows that few people feel the negative effects of buying a product in mid-development. People usually buy products when there is positive feedback towards it, so lots of people receive the benefits of great products rather than losses of failed products.

There are downsides to early testing of products. Customers are in a way at a loss, but also in a way creating benefits in the future for themselves. Sadly, the environment is at harm despite the solutions. Early testing and later testing both have consequences towards the environment and their impact is similar. However, companies significantly benefit from early product testing.


Frank Yin


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