Users as friends, and other product principles from WeChat’s creator

In Four Key Product Principles from WeChat’s Creator, Connie Chan outlines how Allen Zhang, the Chinese programmer known for creating WeChat and Foxmail, thinks about Product:

The backbone of Allen’s product philosophy is thinking about users as his friends. This means designing products with sincere best intentions for the users and putting their interests above all others — even company stakeholders. For Zhang, the importance of always putting the user first is very simple: “Only when we treat users with genuine empathy will our products be used for a longer time.” What this means to Zhang is that product design should not be reduced to “processes” that can be continuously optimized by data-driven teams. He believes there is an amount of whimsical inspiration that process optimization cannot solve for.

The whole profile is worth reading. Zhang is inspiring, and we need more product thinking like this.