Making Software Products Tangible

I can still vividly remember how I rode home on a bus with a fresh package of Turbo Pascal for Windows 1.5 in my lap even though this happened more than 20 years ago. This was late 1992 or early 1993 and it was my first legal copy of my beloved software development tool. The package was some 20x20x20 centimeters in size so one couldn't just store it in the backpack but I had to carry it in my arms for everybody to see which made me feel very special. I'm pretty sure that in twenty years I won't remember carrying home any of the software I use today even it would as important tool as Turbo Pascal was for me two decades ago, since software is no longer packaged but either downloaded or used as a service.

By loosing any remaining physical manifestation software has gained a lot of convenience, but it also made much harder for customer to see what he or she actually bought. Even though the utility of packaged or downloaded software is the same, it gives a customer a nice cozy feeling if he or she can see a big package and thousands of pages of manuals on his or her bookshelf in return for thousands of dollars he or she paid for the software. I think it's a very important task for a product manager to replicate the feeling of tangibility in modern software products in order to build a successful product. The product's web page, dashboards, and all the reports software services provide are there therefore not only to inform the customer about the value the service delivers but also to give to the customer something tangible to grasp.