“The opposite of a fact is a falsehood, but the opposite of one profound truth may very well be another profound truth.” – Niels Bohr
Anyone that’s inventing the kinds of products that we typically do should be able to articulate a relatively robust theory around “What is human nature? What is humanity like now? Where is it going? And how does your product or service fit into that?” – Reid Hoffman
These two statements together mean that it is possible to build products and companies on two opposite theories on human nature.
I like to think of Apple and Amazon as prime examples of this. Apple’s theory seems to be that people are irrational and emotional.
They not only make products which are way more beautiful, the products are also expensive. Why would someone buy an iPhone costing a thousand dollars when a much cheaper Android alternative is available? But they do, a lot of them do. Irrational.
And Apple’s products don’t offer much options either (apart from the watch).
On the other hand, Amazon operates on the idea that people are largely rational actors – they always want the lowest prices and the most options.
And both companies are massively successful.
So the question transforms from ‘what is human nature?’ to ‘what do you believe is human nature?’