SmoothSpan Blog

For Executives, Entrepreneurs, and other Digerati who need to know about SaaS and Web 2.0.

Very few products wouldn’t get better if people just tried to make them better

Posted by Bob Warfield on September 15, 2007

Paraphrasing Seth Godin on making alarm clocks better (he wants them to know not to ring your alarm on the weekend), but it applies everywhere.  It’s the old “too busy fighting fires to buy any fire engines” problem so many businesses have.  But wait, Stowe Boyd has a quote attributed to Jonathan Ives that made me think:

if you want to create something great it requires deep collaboration.

As you know, I like to substitute that word “collaboration” for Web 2.0, but in this case we can go the other way around.  When I look at Web 2.0 offerings such as Dell’s IdeaStorm, I get excited about the ability for customers to help out if we’re only willing to give them a voice and then listen to it.  Not only do you get to hear your customer’s suggestions, but it is done in a collaborative format.  People suggest, comment on the suggestions of others, and even rank suggestions relative to one another.  I was showing this to someone the other day who designs products and their reaction was that companies that don’t have this capability are operating at a major disadvantage.  One of the biggest complaints engineering groups I’ve run have always had is a lack of good customer feedback and contact to make sure they’re building the right thing.

By the way, my vote for clock improvements is an atomic clock chip.  Aren’t you tired of having all those gadgets (VCR’s are mostly dead, but I still see it with microwave ovens and telephones) blinking at you they don’t know the time?  And what’s up with clocks in cars?  As soon as I’m on the road and it wouldn’t be safe to set the clock is when I notice its way off.  Put a chip in my zillion dollar Mercedes fer cryin’ out loud!

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