"The Art of Product Critique and the Science of Forgetting: Insights for Building Better Products"


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 01, 2023

4 min read


"The Art of Product Critique and the Science of Forgetting: Insights for Building Better Products"


Creating a great product requires a deep understanding of people's desires and how they interact with the product. By observing and being curious about people, we can develop better product instincts. However, even the most memorable products can be forgotten over time due to the natural process of forgetting. In this article, we will explore the art of product critique and the science of forgetting, and how these concepts can be applied to build better products.

Understanding People's Desires:

To create a successful product, it is crucial to understand what motivates and delights people. By knowing people's desires, designers and product thinkers can build products that resonate with their target audience. This understanding comes from keen observation and close examination of human behavior. By being curious and continuously learning about people, we can acquire the knowledge needed to build good things.

Observing First Impressions:

The first few minutes of interacting with a product can shape our opinion about its value, usability, and craftsmanship. It is important to pay attention to our initial impressions as they provide valuable insights into the product's value proposition and the intentions of the team behind it. By critically analyzing our first impressions, we can gain a deeper understanding of how to create a positive user experience.

Gaining Additional Perspectives:

Expanding our perspective by seeking additional viewpoints is essential for learning about what works and what doesn't in the broader market. Reading reviews, comments in blogs, and social media posts about a product can provide valuable insights into user experiences and preferences. By considering different perspectives, we can identify areas for improvement and make informed decisions for product development.

The Science of Forgetting:

Our brains have a natural tendency to forget information unless it is stored during memory consolidation. The process of encoding, consolidation, and retrieval of information plays a crucial role in memory formation. Memories are stored in the hippocampus and other areas of the brain, and retrieval involves reactivating the memory trace neurons. However, memories can be easily lost or overshadowed by new experiences, making it challenging to retain specific details.

The Impact of Salient Events:

Salient emotional events and life-threatening experiences tend to leave a lasting impact on our memories. However, the more such events we experience, the more difficult it becomes to remember each one in detail. New memories often interfere with older ones, making it harder to recall specific events. Additionally, uniform events are more challenging to remember, as the memory tends to consolidate them into one overall event. This has implications for our memories of specific periods, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Future-Oriented Positivity Bias:

As a society, many people may not want to hold onto their memories of the pandemic due to the future-oriented positivity bias. We tend to view the future more positively than the past because the future is open to various possibilities, while the past is fixed. Our current emotions, knowledge, and attitudes influence how we remember the past, shaping our perception of events. This bias may affect how we look back on the pandemic and shape our approach to the future.

Preserving Memories:

In order to preserve autobiographical memories of significant events like the pandemic, history must capture and transform individual experiences. Cultural artifacts such as books, movies, statues, and museums play a vital role in preserving collective memories. Without these artifacts, memories can fade and eventually be lost to history. It is essential to recognize the importance of preserving memories through various means to ensure the remembrance of significant events.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Embrace Curiosity: Cultivate a mindset of curiosity and continuously seek to understand people's desires and motivations. This curiosity will fuel your ability to build products that resonate with your target audience.
  • 2. Solicit Feedback: Actively seek out diverse perspectives and feedback on your product. Engage with reviews, comments, and social media discussions to gain insights into user experiences and identify areas for improvement.
  • 3. Document and Preserve: As a designer or product thinker, document your journey and experiences to create a historical record. Whether through writing, photography, or other means, preserving your thoughts and observations will contribute to the collective memory of significant events.


Building great products requires a deep understanding of people's desires and the ability to observe and learn from their interactions. By incorporating the art of product critique and considering the science of forgetting, we can develop better products that resonate with users and leave a lasting impact. Embracing curiosity, seeking diverse perspectives, and preserving memories are actionable steps towards building products that stand the test of time.

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