Saturday, April 30, 2011

First Impression

Unknowingly the subconscious mind is always at work, we try to draw conclusions within a few seconds of seeing something or someone. The first impression that we derive is actually a product of our unconscious calculations based on our past experiences, beliefs and likings. This initial gut feeling is of great value, I have heard people say I just felt it, I knew it, it was love at first time, I knew we are going to win, I knew he was genuine, I felt it was not right etc..

Correctness of the first impression cannot be generalized to avant-garde stuff. Specially when a product is new and first of its type and not stereo typical the first impression will not be accurate. In Malcolm Gladwell's excellent book on First Impressions called as "Blink", he talks about the Aeron Chair, which generated some of the worst first impressions, including being named as the "Chair of Death". This chair defied all initial market research to get itself establish itself as the best selling chair in the particular companies history. The trick was the product got some lucky breaks and the management believed in it.
Aeron's Chair

Another classic example of misjudged first impression that I too shared with a lot of other people was on the music of AR Rahman. I can remember time and time again when he makes a new release I always think its not my cup of tea but over time getting addicted to them. I can still remember listening songs of the gentlemen movie for the first time and thinking its crap, but then later starting to like the very same thing. I think it was because his type of music was not the genre of music I had got used to. He was at a juncture of redefining Tamil listeners taste bud, which upto then was used to Illayarajah's melodies.

So when it comes to innovations, the first impressions, initial feedback at times turns out to be negative, this is the point at which product developers should be sharp and be capable of identifying whether are we talking about something new so that the masses don't grasp it still or is it a case of absolute crap which will never be liked. I can draw a comparison to something I have in hand, but will reserve it for now!

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