How to delight customers with details (lessons from Toy Story 4)


As a Disney fan and tech geek, this short clip from Nerdwriter1 on The Real Fake Cameras Of Toy Story 4 was fascinating.

It’s mind-boggling to see the level of detail put into Pixar Films. The idea that they had camera experts helping them mimic real camera tricks (like a split diopter shot) kind of blows my mind. The cherry on top is that not only did this use of real cameras add realism, it actually added to the storytelling in subtle, but important ways.

It’s why the focus of this scene with Gabby Gabby adds to the idea of manipulation (because they are using a split lens that shows 2 areas of focus)

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And why Woody’s background is usually in focus (doesn’t accept change well) but Bo-Peep’s background is usually shown with a shallower depth of field and the background isn’t in focus (very accepting of change)

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Why does this matter?

The details we choose to highlight can strongly influence how others perceived us. That’s true for how we live our lives, how we build products, and how we run companies.

Small things have major influence.

“It’s the little details that make the big things come about.” – John Wooden

Examples like John Wooden focusing on how you put on socksZappos offering money for employees to quit, and Apple’s unique packaging are all similar to Pixar’s use of cameras in Toy Story 4 – Small details that might not seem like a big deal that end up being some of the most critical parts of the end story.

Details in Products

Little details can have a big influence in products as well. Every time I send an email with Mailchimp, I smile as they obviously empathize with the stress of sending out emails. It reminds me how much their team cares about small details (which are a big deal when sending lots of emails).

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Another example is Dropbox Paper. They could have something dull for their empty state like “Type here” or “A new document”. But they use new, clever empty states each time you create a new document.

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That small detail shows the thought that goes into so many pieces of their product.

Another small, but useful detail is when they show who has typed what in a document:

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And seamless creation of todos within a document:

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They haven’t just created an app that copies what’s always been done in documents. They thought about what users are actually trying to accomplish. Small, but critical changes adjustments make it my most used app.

What small details in your product, your company culture, and your family are most critical to your story?

Resources to help Product Managers find work they love and enjoy the work they do

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