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What Really is a “Product Vision?”

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I’ll start by answering the question: A product vision sets the direction of the product, product-line, or company. Visions are tricky things. When we talk about “vision” and “visionaries” there’s an element of the ethereal. There’s a feeling of the visionary seeing into the future, and bringing that vision of the future into the present. As Apple CEO Tim Cook has said, “We make products people didn’t know they wanted and now can’t live without.” The vision is the yard-stick (or meter-stick!) with which we determine when something is “good enough.” Consider 2½ examples: Microsoft’s Vision The following email was obtained and reported by the Seattle Pi in 2008. This email was part of a larger group of evidence in the antitrust suit against Microsoft. I think it paints a dramatic picture of what happens when brilliant minds lack a unified vision. —— Original Message —— From: Bill Gates Sent: Wednesday, January 15, 2003 10:05 AM To: [Former Microsoft Executive] CC: [Former Microsoft Execu

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