What makes a product revolutionary?


My definition of revolutionary is a product that changes the way people behave/work.  That is really hard to do.


I think the iPod is one product that was revolutionary.  That humble and rather modestly priced product changed an industry and it changed how people listen to music.  Record stores closed, record labels revenues declined, and the world changed.


People look for something unique, boldly new, a first never done before to define a revolutionary product.  The first time a product goes wireless as an example.  Yet first time technologies rarely change the way people behave and work.  They are indeed radical bold first steps, but rarely successful products.



—There were numerous portable digital music players when the iPod was introduced— 


The Creative Nomad Jukebox predates the iPod.  In fact, Apple was sued and had to pay Creative for use of its intellectual property in the iPod.





What was absolutely brilliant about the iPod product was not the introduction of any really new technology, or a bold first of some kind.  It was the brilliant market driven application of several well-known technologies to make a compelling consumer offering.  The iPod reflected Steve Jobs’ deal with the record labels setting the legal sale of digital files (no small feat), the development of the iTunes store and software, the introduction of Digital Rights Management preserving the commercial benefit of the ecosystem, getting the device small, with lots of memory and making it easy to use.  The user interface was brilliant and intuitive.  All these technologies were not big firsts, but when they were put together with a huge amount of work sweating every detail including exceptional packaging design, you have a revolutionary product that still dominates the music industry.


If you look at the iPhone, the iPad, the MacAir, the same can be said of these products more or less.  The whole was impactful because of the brilliant bringing together of the sum of its parts to fill an unknown consumer need, until the consumer got their hands on a device.  Then people changed the way the worked, played and behaved.  A revolutionary product was born.




Our new guitar which is causing an enormous stir is said not to be the first technology instrument, not the first digital instrument, etc.  Forget what benefit the product may bring to a guitar player, it simply looks like a guitar with some effects in it.  Big deal?


Well, the reality is that millions of dollars were spent on this instrument, and it consists of many many parts and the creative work of many brilliant engineers, players and craftsman. 


The instrument itself started with a historical Gibson model which was never sold large numbers because the guitar had some issues.  The guitar was big, neck heavy and heavy in general.   It had touches of brilliance, but the work was unfinished.  The current design balances perfectly on a strap, and on your knee.  It is super light making it easy to play for long periods of time.  The fingerboard is a resonant hard certified hardwood from Brazil.  The frets are special low height (fretless wonder) frets.  The fingerboard is machine polished.  The nut is a new hard density Teflon like material eliminating friction and maximizing tone.  Every dimension of the scale, bridge position, string angles, etc. were computed with great precision by computer and checked with a sophisticated “acoustic camera”.  Manufacturing dimensions were tightened up well beyond current guitar technology insuring every product was consistently at its best.  This guitar required a new production line be built with highly trained craftsman and technicians to be able to meet the daunting specifications required.


The guitar has in it a standardized system of solderless high reliability connectors which will be the basis of all future guitar allowing player great flexibility in moding their instruments, and allowing other manufacturers to supply parts.  The electronics package is entirely removable and can be replaced with the latest technology preserving the  value of the exceptional instrument.


The pickups reflect a new patent pending technology of bifilar winding that allows single coils to sound as they do traditionally, but reduces hum and noise without affecting the important tonal character.


The list of contributing design and manufacturing elements of what this instrument is goes on.  I wrote a complete description that went almost 100 pages.  But, like the iPod, a complete technical description is not what a revolutionary product is about.  It is about picking up the product and feeling there is something magic in it.  Something that you do not want to give up.  Something that changes the way you work, play and behave.


I think we have done that.  If we did, it is really REVOLUTIONARY