Summary: Too often we either confuse, or merge, goals with constraints. While both are necessary, it’s essential to understand how to use each one properly to design plans that work. E-mail. Tweet. http://rdean.me/fIefuP
One issue that enrages me enough to rant about is is how often we conflate what is a goal with what is a constraint. While the differences may seem like nuance, confusing a business’ goals, with the the constraints they are subject to, leads to a lack of focus and ultimately failing to achieve what you really want.
Goals are clear objectives for what you want your end state to be, while constraints are given conditions, or circumstances that your solution must satisfy…so to paraphrase Seth Godin, a goal would be “to go to the moon”, and a constraint of that would be “to overcome gravity”. Sounds simple enough, right? Then why do these get confused so often, and how should we think about each one?
Summary: There has been much hype around 3D-TV, as the future of home entertainment. I outright disagree, and contend that, as they are currently designed, will have a long time to mass consumption…or most likely never. E-mail. Tweet. http://rdean.me/dnXIlz
3D-TV is not going to be the next big thing. In a previous post, I looked at different factors that drive innovation diffusion to commercial success. Using that same model, it’s pretty clear that current 3D-TVs have a tough road ahead of them.
Testing 3D-TV against the diffusion of innovation framework
Let’s look at the 7 factors of innovation diffusion, and do a back of the envelope analysis to see what I mean:
|Relative Advantage||POSITIVE||Watching a movie in 3D looks better|
|Compatibility||NEGATIVE||New TV equipment (incl. glasses) and new DVD formats — not to mention new techniques for sudios|
|Complexity||NEGATIVE||This does not make my home theater situation easier at all|
|Observability||NEUTRAL||While anyone can see a demo, its hard to notice the difference in anything but the standard demos of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs|
|Trialability||NEUTRAL||I have to go to a Best Buy, or a rich friend’s place to try it out|
|Social Acceptability||NEGATIVE||Be honest, wearing glasses makes you look like a dork|
|Regulatory||NEGATIVE||While “regulatory” is used loosely, here, the point of this factor is all of the ecosystem changes that need to occur, from studios to broadcasters, new equipment and transmission methods, as well as cable companies|
The net effect: slow growth projection
The net effect is that I believe 3D-TV will have a slow ramp, based on the model above.
Additionally, the macro trend of video consumption is toward video “snacking”, and “cord cutting”, with the advent of YouTube and social video. Mobile technologies (like the iPad) and new devices (like Roku, PS3, and AppleTV) are making it even easier to consume what you want, when you want it, and on whatever device.
So the real need to have an immersive in-home experience revolve around sports, live events, and movies; I think in-home 3D may have a place in those three areas. However, the complexity and expense of the setup, limited availability of content options, and the overall inconvenience of having to wear glasses impede the diffusion of this technology…oh yeah, and apparently harmful to drink and watch a 3D-TV, so I certainly won’t buy one
[UPDATE Nov 1, 2010: It seems TechCrunch has caught on to this trend as well with this post]
Summary: We often talk about undertaking an initiative in order to create “competitive advantage”, but what does that really mean? What are things you can, and should be doing? Here we examine, the five sources of durable competitive advantage. E-mail. Tweet.
There have been some pithy posts (for example here, and here written on creating durable, or sustainable, competitive advantage; however, the best I’ve ever seen was buried deep in the footnotes of a deck by Khosla Ventures.
In this deck it outlines five major sources of durable competitive advantage:
- “Special Access” to Scarce Supply
- High Switching Costs
- Fixed Cost Leverage
- Real-Time Business Process Advantage
- Ownable Network Effect
While the footnotes of the deck don’t go into much more detail, I’ll do my best to provide some explanation, and practical examples, on each of these.
Click here to learn more about each of these factors
Pricing your application is always an issue of hot debate, with much interesting literature and guides in the space. While there are only a handful of macro models out there, or as Shelly Palmer puts it: “I pay, you pay, someone else pays”, there are variety of ways to combine and segment for various audiences.
The increasingly popular “freemium” model, brought into the mainstream by pundits like Chris Anderson, delivers a free version of your product that enables users to try it out, and then charges for up-sells in the form of services, support, or premium features.
While the basics are easy to understand in this model, getting the details right is quite tricky, as it gives rise to a number of questions: What do you limit? How much is too much to give away? What is a “premium” feature?.
While Anderson gives a little guidance (see slide 17) on how to do this, by advising that premium features should be “time limited, feature limited, seat limited, customer limited”, it’s a little too simplistic for my liking. These are challenging decisions that require you to make some important decisions on how you shape your customer experience and prioritize development initiatives, so it seems we should be thinking deeper about these ways to limit the free version, while creating the right incentives for upgrades to the paid version(s).
Let’s look at some of the key dimensions that you can use to limit your application.
Being back in Canada for the holidays, has me a little nostalgic – recalling my days at Waterloo, and since watching the meteoric rise of RIM in the past decade, along with Nortel’s precipitous fall from grace. Watching the new wave of mobile devices (formerly known as “smartphones”) and related consumer behavior patterns emerge, it got me thinking about what lies in store for RIM in this upcoming decade, and I’ve come to the realization that RIM may be on it’s way to become this new decade’s Canadian poster child as a high-tech also-ran.
Came across this TechCrunch post yesterday entitled: “Firefox 3.5 not playing nicely with Twitter”. This seems pretty innocuous at first — “ok, so what if app X doesn’t work in some new browser”; however, looking a bit deeper the choice of words here is actually pretty interesting. This post implies that it’s Firefox’s “fault” for not “playing nicely” with Twitter – not the other way around.
It wasn’t too long ago that I remember our teams wildly running around to enable our application to support “browser x” (do you know major companies still use IE6?). The browser was always the top dog, and you (the app developer) had to support it.
When did the rules change? When did the browser become the tail, and the applications become the top dog?
More generally: how or when does a power shift occur from the platform itself, to the ecosystem around it? I believe it inevitably happens in “open” ecosystems (i.e. platforms are open) such as browsers. Exactly how, is a function of two conditions: