Posts tagged “bark”

Snark about Bark

I’m rolling my eyes at this article about successful dog toy company, Bark. Specifically:

Bark’s design process begins with research. Packed in every BarkBox sent to 600,000 subscribers is a survey questioning dog parents about their beloved canine’s playing styles. The design team also gets anecdotal data from their Ohio-based customer service team who chat with with BarkBox loyalists about how toys were received. Based on user insights, Jensen and his team creates goofy toys that heighten a dog’s natural play style—chewing, fetching, or even destruction play.

“We know what a golden retriever in Kansas will like compared to a chihuahua in Seattle,” claims Jensen.

Some of what is grating is simply due to sloppy writing, but I am bothered by the hollow virtue-signalling around user research. Their methods are surveys – sent only to people who have purchased their product, and customer service reps – who are probably doing more troubleshooting than chatting with loyalists. The quote, then, implies a Big Data-style sense of insight across geography and breed, which is just untrue. They haven’t met any pet owners and they haven’t met with any pets!

I realize it’s expedient for PR to anchor your genius in customer-centricity, and I guess that’s a win. The founders are industrial designers and there would once have been a day when their innate brilliance would have been sufficient. But really, don’t cloak yourself in shallow methodologies and then claim you are doing everything based on research!


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