Kathy Sierra has (yet another!) great post, about (not) listening to users.
It turned out that most of the major changes they made to their program came not from user requests and suggestions, but from the Parelli team's own innovations. He went on to explain that their members/students/users had no idea what was needed to make better, faster, deeper breakthroughs. In fact, many of the changes went against what their user feedback seemed to suggest. In other words, in many ways the Parelli team deliberately did not listen to users.
If I listened to every user, then I wouldn't have a voice or weblog,
and it would be pretty bland so as to cause offence to no-one. So
if you want to incrementally improve your product or service, just
listen to your users.
If you want to radically take a leap and make the big change, listen to yourself.
I was just looking at the Scoble video interview with Julie Larson-Green, and
demo of Microsoft's new Office12 replacement for Office 2003, and I
thought before watching, there's no way I'm paying for incremental
improvements, but having watched the demo, I'm saying WoW! Gimme, Gimme,
Gimme. They've taken a jump and changed the Office
Of course they've listened to users, but it's what they've done with their listening and taken a leap of faith.
This is all very Purple Cow, which I'm currently reading.