Archive of: business
Speaking of simplicity.
Isaac Hall, co-founder of Dropbox competitor Syncplicity, answered the Quora question “Why is Dropbox more popular than other tools with similar functionality?“
It’s a wonderfully in-depth answer, encompassing PR companies, the press, and how to structure a beta, but despite all of those influences it came down to this:
In the end, it really came down to one incredibly genius idea: Dropbox limited its feature set on purpose. It had one folder and that folder always synced without any issues — it was magic. Syncplicity could sync every folder on your computer until you hit our quota. (Unfortunately, that feature was used to synchronize C:\Windows\ for dozens of users — doh!) Our company had too many features and this created confusion amongst our customer base. This in turn led to enough customer support issues that we couldn’t innovate on the product, we were too busy fixing things.
If you’re starting a new company, the best thing you can do is keep your feature set small and focused. Do one thing as best as you possibly can. Your users will beg and beg for more functionality. They will tell you their problems and ask you to fix it. My philosophy is that they’re right if their feature request is right only if it works for 80% of your customers. Until you have a lot of resources, stay focused on your core competency.
The time has arrived that three communities–the business, design, and technology communities–have independently discovered the same thing. That the best way to build new technology products, services, and the businesses that deliver them is to work in small, cross-functional, highly collaborative teams. To use lightweight, informal methods. To use rapid cycles of designing, making, and validating in order to test and learn and improve. To focus on the customer.
Josh Seiden in Agile UX? Lean UX? Customer Development? A multiple discovery moment.
Do you want to know what BP should do about me? Do you want to know what their PR strategy should be? They should fire everyone in their joke of a PR department, starting with all-star Anne Womack-Kolto and focus on actually fixing the problems at hand. Honestly, Cheney’s publicist? That’s too easy.
So what is the point of all this? The point is, FORGET YOUR BRAND. You don’t own it because it is literally nothing. You can spend all sorts of time and money trying to manufacture public opinion, but ultimately, that’s up to the public, now isn’t it?
The man behind @BPGlobalPR
Joshua-Michéle Ross, writing about the demise of the news business, identifies a more fundamental question:
The failure of newspapers is not a failure of imagination or foresight nor is it a failure of individuals. This kind of failure is the hallmark of all institutions in the face of tectonic disruption. Institutions are a set of agreements that perpetuate a social order beyond individual intention or tenure. Changing those agreements is costly and time-consuming. So when the rate of change accelerates beyond the institution’s adaptive capacity – extinction follows.
The question is not “what should newspapers do?” but “how can a large institution effectively organize in response to disruptive change?” Taken thus, it is not only the fundamental question to ask of newspapers – but to ask of ourselves in relation to a host of big-ticket game-changers such as peak oil, environmental collapse and climate change that simultaneously require and defy our capacity for institutional response.
The larger an institution the less able it is to react to change, to the point where it would rather have society legislate against the disruption than adapt it’s ways.
That’s no good for anyone.
It’s all an elaborate ruse and in a couple of days, after we’ve all blogged about it, they’ll turn round and say “You didn’t seriously think we were this out of touch did you? Suckers!”
Please tell me that’s what’s going to happen.
From BBC technology news.
Social music site Last.fm has been bought by US media giant CBS Corporation for $280m (£140m), the largest-ever UK Web 2.0 acquisition.
As part of the deal, Last.fm’s managing team will remain in place and the site will maintain its own separate identity.
It is becoming unprecedentedly difficult for anyone, anyone at all, to keep a secret. In the age of the leak and the blog, of evidence extraction and link discovery, truths will either out or be outed, later if not sooner. This is something I would bring to the attention of every diplomat, politician and corporate leader: the future, eventually, will find you out. The future, wielding unimaginable tools of transparency, will have its way with you. In the end, you will be seen to have done that which you did.
William Gibson – June 25, 2003
As Tom Coates points out it does feel like the personality and spirit is lacking somewhat, but at the end of the day this is what Google are good at, stripping away the extraneous and leaving you with just the results.
(Yep, I ego-surfed, nope there’s not much of me in there currently))
So Odeon have suddenly decided that they don’t like the accessible version of their cinema listings that Matt Somerville built, and have shut it down.
Nice. Instead of investigating why someone felt the need to go to all this effort then taking a smart course of action – like making their site more accessible for instance – they decided that strong-arming was the way to go.
More comment from John.
[Note: This piece was originally written for the June 2004 gencon Newsletter. It’s very cluetrain-ish, but given the non-technical nature of the target audience (upper/middle level management, small business owners), and their probable lack of exposure to that book, I thought it a worthwhile exercise.]
Bill Gates’s recent speech at the Microsoft CEO Summit extolling the virtue of ‘blogs‘ got me thinking about a question I’m often asked when people find out what I do for a living. "So what is the web good for?".
At its most basic the web is a method of publication. You write some content, stick it up on the web, and with any luck people read it.
But when we look a little deeper, and at blogging in particular, we start to see something more than just a publishing system.
The majority of blogs allow visitors to leave comments on the piece they’ve just read, turning the entry from one person’s lone voice in the wilderness to a living, breathing congress where anyone can join in and add their point of view.
We also start to see a more conversational tone, far removed from the clean sanitised corporate copy-writing on most sites. We see communication between people, we see conversations and communities.
My answer to people who ask me what the web is good for is simple. It’s all about the conversations. It’s all about people.
I’m not suggesting that you run off and set up a blog on your company website, but I would urge you to get out there in the blogosphere (oh yes, us geeks have a name for everything!), look at the conversations, listen at the tones used and then take a moment to think about the content on your site.
(a good place to get started reading blogs is technorati, a blog aggregation site. Try a search on a topic that interests you, see where it takes you. Join in!)
Ask yourself what your company ‘voice’ is, could it be friendlier, softer, or even funnier? Are you just publishing for the sake of it or are you actually communicating?