Products and their implicit main features

Thinking about the features in a product that users expect, but are rarely advertised.

Recently Robinhood came under fire for offering “Checking & Savings” accounts that were not backed by SIPC.

This got me thinking that the implicit main feature of a financial product is, like Sar says, trust.

I don’t think it ever makes sense for a company to launch a (secondary) feature that undermines their implicit main feature, which is why it is alarming that Robinhood would take a gamble that could result in the loss of trust.

Ideally, in a company with strong cultural values, the implicit main feature is protected at all costs. But it is easy to lose one’s way.

Anyway, this got me thinking… what are some implicit main features of other products?

Uber: the fast ETA and ETD. ETA is how long the driver-partner takes to arrive at your location, and ETD is how long it takes to arrive at the rider’s chosen destination. If Uber wasn’t the fastest option, then riders would switch over to a faster competitor, and drivers would surely follow them.

Facebook / Instagram / WhatsApp / Snapchat: connection with your friends. If your friends aren’t on these platforms, then they aren’t much fun. However, the ability to follow celebrities on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat add single-player utility to the products.

YouTube / Twitch: information and entertainment from personalities that you love. Most of my friends don’t upload YouTube videos or Twitch streams for their friends, but instead, follow a small number of content creators.

Twitter: connection with like-minded people of varying influence. Since shortly after its launch, Twitter has been a network where it is easy to follow celebrities and other personalities. It’s harder to find your friends on the timeline if you happen to follow a bunch of celebrities.

Docker: write once, deploy everywhere. The two useful features of Docker are the easy ways they enable the packaging of software into runnable containers, and the ability to orchestrate the running of those containers over large deployments.

Google: the world’s information, and your personal information, accessible to you within seconds. This one is an easy pick because because Google has long described their mission as to, “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Amazon / Walmart: a store to buy, or subscribe to, everything. I’m looking for a better definition for this one, as I’m copying the idea from the Brad Stone book The Everything Store. But it’s too easy to say a business’s desire is to sell everything because many retailers could optimistically state that as their north star.

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Jamie Larson