When you ask someone if they would use your new product, buy your new widget or participate in your new service once it’s ready, you will get a lie in response.
It might be a generous lie (“sure, I love this”) or it might be a fearful lie (“here are the six reasons I would never use this”). The fearful lies cause us to scale back, to shave off, to go for mediocre. And the generous lies push us to launch stuff that’s just not very good.
People don’t mean to mess you up, but you’ve made the error of asking them to imagine a future they have trouble imagining. It’s incredibly different than asking them to justify what they already do.
We have to create environments where people choose, then ask them why.
(1) Characteristic Seth Godin brilliance: “People don’t mean to mess you up, but you’ve made the error of asking them to imagine a future they have trouble imagining.”
(2) Cf. How to set the price for your product.
(3) “Don’t ask people to image what they would do” applies to product as well as pricing. See: The survey question you should never ask.