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Another example of Great Design

This just came to mind reading the last article (draft).  Another example of a product that suceeds in amazing proportion despite a long-standing laundry list of flaws is the Harley Davidson motorcycle.

Just like the iPod, it is a raving sucess dispite it's high price, low performance and shockingly bad reliability (compared to it's competition).

What's particularily interesting about HD is that they've been doing this for almost 30 years, after recovering from almost running the company into the ground.

That might be something else interesting to note, that even with this "great design", you can still shoot yourself in the foot, if you're willing to try hard enough.

So I thought I'd mention it, if only for another reference or maybe a another case to study while working on the rest of the articles.
Jason J. Gullickson Send private email
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Really great example there. Throw in Porche and Jaguar for exactly the same reasons.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Not to hijack the thread but since I was considering buying a Porsche, what flaws do they have such that you would consider Porsche to be "a great product despite its flaws?"

Err...  I didn't think high price was a flaw (it's cheap compared to other performance cars sans the Corvette) and for its price, it has pretty good performance. I've also heard - second hand mind you - that its also fairly reliable compared to the alternatives; did you hear otherwise?
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Porches are good cars but it costs a lot to keep them running well unless you do it yourself. The 911 series can be finicky - that sort of high end stuff isn't designed to be maintenance and trouble free. It's like buying a fur coat. Functional, yes. But you gotta take care of it, keep the moths off, brush it, all sorts of things you don't need to do with a polyester parka.

Now Jaguars on the other hand, they are simply bad cars, but they are expensive status symbols.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
The above examples have another aspect that's perhaps more important than great design, at least from a shifting units point of view. Image.

People want the image of being free and not giving a shit so they buy a Harley (even if they're a tax accountant during the week).

At this point they don't care about design, and probably don't have much to compare a Harley with. If you're buiying a motorbike for transport you'd probably look at other brands and compare designs (and you almost definately wouldn't buy a Harley) but if you're looking for a bike for image, you probably wouldn't even look at other brands than Harley so can't even compare designs.

Porsches by the way can't be compared to Harleys in terms of reliability. Sure you need to look after them more than you do a Honda, but they're not as shocking unreliable/poor quality as Jaguar or Harley.
Jeff B Send private email
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Another example: Lotus Esprit. It looks great (mostly while being towed away from where it died) and I would *so* like one.
Mr. Powers Send private email
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Yes, Harley is all about image. The people I know who are long time motorcycle riders avoid Harley like the plague. If you ever need to get out of a situation on the road, Harley is not your friend.
MBJ Send private email
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Jeff really hit the nail on the head.  Purchase of a Harley is an image driven decision.  Whenever I have discussed quality issues with Harley owners the standard response is 'yah but they have been getting better.'  What other product has the kind of image that would induce owners to tattoo the product logo on their heads?
Not A Harley Owner
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Ah, but that begs the question: what is it about the Harley that gives it that Status Image? Can't a product be "cool" and have good quality at the same time? (If not, why can't we all get rich selling poor-quality merchandise at overinflated prices to tempt the snobs?)

And... does Design (good design or Great design) have anything to do with a product's Image?
Ian Schreiber Send private email
Thursday, February 02, 2006
iPods are cool and good quality. There were a couple years during which Mercedes were cool and good quality but then they decided to ride the coolnees and try to pass off some poorly made cars under their brand name, which ruined the brand.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
For the porsche part. Subaru impressa have better performance and are one third cheaper.

Saturday, February 04, 2006
Okay, it's not a car, but I was going to point out in response to Joel's fear of hotel alarm clocks, that Hilton hotels built a better alarm clock.
Jennifer May Send private email
Thursday, February 16, 2006

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