Tuesday, December 18, 2007

It's all about me

Interesting article about disruptive technologies from Henry Blodget (must confess I'd not read anything of his but followed a link from Scobliezer) -- reminded me of they way Linux was referred to as a disruptive technology five or six years ago.
It also reminded me (albeit tangentially) of a thought that occurred to me recently, which was how the old saying 'one person's trash is another's treasure' applies to gadgets too (and technology generally) -- but often neither of these two seem to recognise it unfortunately.
I make a point of reading as much as I can about what people (including bloggers and on-line forum posters) say about the company I work for, its products and services, as well as those of competitors (it's my job after all).
And one thing that never ceases to amaze me is how many times ordinary people will logically and systematically assess the potential value or market for a product, and declare it good or bad, based on whether it appeals to them personally.
I find that odd because if there's one thing that's obvious to me in reading it all of these opinions it is that, just like fingerprints and snowflakes, no two are exactly alike on any given topic. So what I find appealing about Product A may not be the same as what you do.
The PC market is an example -- what people mean when they say 'I want a PC' is becoming more and more different every day because, while we like to say PCs are a commodity (they have the same basic components after all) how we each use them is different -- and becoming more so I think.
And that effects our decision making criteria. Price is a consideration for almost every PC buyer but for some people it's number one and they'll opt for an entry level system for instance, that's currently somewhere around AUD$1000. But for others performance is number one and, while price is a factor, they'll choose to spend that $1000 on the video card or CPU alone. Neither is 'wrong' obviously, they're just different decisions made by different people for different reasons.
That sounds like common sense, but I've lost count of the number of times I've read a comment that Product A wont succeed because, for example, it has a integrated video card, or no in-built TV tuner, or a Celeron processor and 'I wouldn't buy it for that reason' -- the inference being that no-one else will either.
So, while it sounds like commonsense, I regard these opinions in much the same way people in politics regard calls to talkback radio and letters to the editor -- they're great indicators of public opinion but they're by no means the final word from the marketplace.