Review: finding the Right Time & Right Place for your spanking new product

Posted: January 22, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s hard to miss the amount of technology coverage that’s been going around of late (for those who want a digest of happenings, tune in):

  1. The  saturated coverage on Google’s Nexus One, and its endless comparisons with the iPhone;
  2. The much hyped chatter about 3D appliances following the Avatar craze;
  3. The up and coming Tablets from Apple, HP and Google;
  4. The growing demand for geo-sensitive social networks, including Foursquare and Gowalla

It’s interesting to note that most of these concepts are not new. For example, Optus (an old employer flame of mine) launched Find a Friend (thx, @silkcharm) back in 2005 using the coordinates of your mobile against the Optus’ nearest base stations to approximate your location against your list of friends.

The Tablet concept has also been around for at least a decade. In fact, Microsoft pioneered the original ‘PC Tablet’ back in 2000, citing its key benefit as emulating the ‘simplicity of putting pen to paper’ whilst have the full Windows suite available. More details on the launch here.

Which begs the question, why the hype and imminent success of these same concepts now, in 2010?

Entertain these 2 reasons with me if you may:

1. It’s about being at the right place at the right time

Outliers (Malcolm Gladwell) explains this point well. The example of Bill Gates demonstrates the importance of being around at the right time to grab opportunities that would ultimately lead to success.

For us, we are more virtually connected, more tech savvy than ever. By the same token, technologies are much more ripe and proven than back in 2000.

Combining the market need and technological readiness brings the pent up demand for smart phones, the upcoming Tablets and more sophisticated networks.

2. It’s also about who or what you are

The likes of Apple and Google continue to amaze me, not only with their product diversification, but also with the amount of media coverage and consumer demand that comes about with any activity they choose to embark in.

Which brings me to the second point:  who you are has a large bearing on the success of your endeavours. The Zune series is a great example of this.  Our experiences tell us that anything from Microsoft is going to be complex to use, which in turn affects our purchasing decision. The personality of the company has a huge bearing on success as well.

Thanks for putting up with that rant, now over to you for your thoughts!

  1. MishyMash says:

    Great conversation starter Denise! Here’s my thoughts…

    One could argue that it was these earlier products (which were used by early adopters) that paved the way for the *new* products we are seeing today. So the older products didn’t necessarily fail, they evolved (and moved to other companies!).

    That said, each year we’re seeing more and more products go to market. Though what’s been surprising me of late is the accelerated transition from early adopter to mainstream.

    This may be, to some degree, attributed to the fact that people are generally having more public conversations about technology, products and the like (yes, I’m referring to ‘social media’ here, but even more broadly, to the concept that it’s OK to openly talk about products and services you are using).

    So, it sounds obvious, but I think it’s the accelerated rate of discussion that’s spreading the messages to more people, faster – and it’s through these recommendations that the influences (early adopters) have been able to be more effective in ‘marketing’ to the mainstream, which in turn provided the mainstream with trusted recommendations, giving mainstream users ‘permission’ (and confidence) to be a little more experimental with their technology uptake.

    My final thought is around pricing. Perhaps I’m just getting old, but a few short years ago, ‘the latest technology’ generally seemed to be priced in a way that it was purposefully inaccessible to the average consumer. Now, everyone seems to be buying the latest-whatever-the-frack-technology – regardless of price. My guess? As a consumer society we are spending more overall, so by comparison, the higher end electronics now seem reasonably priced, which may in turn add to the success rate.


    • schmediachick says:

      Love your points, agree with all of them. The evolution of how we interact is characterised by immediacy and an open minded approach these days and the ‘willingness to pay’ factor is very much a result of reduced pricing.

      Whilst we see more and more products come out, there will come a time of consolidation (typical product lifecycle stages, eh?), improvement of the application & design and so on. It’s exciting to see this all unravel in front of us!

      Now, I ponder, whether it’s worth investing in one of those 3D TVs.. :p

  2. wittyDesigns says:

    Hey really good read and some very good points. Agree with MishyMash also in that pricing plays a big part in any new technology going mainstream.

    The importance of early adopters i.e. those willing to pay often exorbitant prices for the first generation, often clunky and often clichy devices (hmmm I’m thinking of the first 3G mobile devices), can also not be forgotten. Without these techno heads, revenue and ideas dries for further development and the new technology disappears ….. not to say it doesn’t get re-invented again later on.

  3. Great post Denise
    I see these “spanking new products” as “great ideas, well executed” Take the examples you use: Apple and Google. Both their “killer products” were by no means first. They were “better mousetraps” (realising I’m using a lot of quotation marks here, so here’s some parentheses to break it up a bit 😉

    Apple’s iPhone is easy to use, beautiful and complemented by a plethora of applications available via the iTunes Store. Exceptional execution. It certainly wasn’t the first “smartphone” or touchscreen device.

    Google’s search is easy to use, simple, and accurate. They executed better than AltaVista, Yahoo, Ask Jeeves and all others before them.

    Michelle’s (@mishymash) comments are telling. I agree, social networks and our trust in the people we choose to listen to, mean that news travels fast, and is filtered for us. Fast travelling news about great products increases uptake for sure, especially for early adopters.

    Price continues to drop too – so we can all justify that Sony PlayTV ($130) or BluRay player (from $100 now) or digital music player (saw one for $17 this week!) or for me, the greatest household product of all, TiVo (another story we can discuss later – but TiVo is one well executed idea!)

    Thanks, as always, for sharing: I always enjoy your posts.

    Tony Hollingsworth

  4. franksting says:

    I’d add number 3 – Its about what you offer. Google offer lots of services which hardly anyone uses or makes no $ for them. Apple have had their own Turkeys. Being able to stick with them works for these guys (you mentioned the Zune), but not for everybody. MS have a great success with the Xbox, and bound to be bigger in 2010. Other similar services exist, but Xbox looks like a big winner due to the way they are diversifying the service. THis is why I disagree with Tony on TiVo (and Kindle), people with Xbox and Media capable computers (not to mention LAN enabled TV’s) will kill one facet services.

    • schmediachick says:

      That’s the beauty of successful companies such as Google and Apple. The success of their core business – Google with advertising on search, and Apple with their i-series devices – allow for product diversity & duds along the way!

      Keen to hear what @hollingsworth has to say to your point. thanks for your comments fellow #pmm!

  5. franksting says:

    Tony, you know more about the Tech than I do, so I’ll bow to your superior knowledge. I’ve got Foxtel, so I don’t need TiVO. If I switch from Foxtel, as I’ve threatened to do, well I won’t buy a Tivo, I’ll get a digital decoder and EPG etc for my MacMini. I know thats just me, but I think TiVo is niche. The gaming devices are already in the Market in the Millions. Xbox (and PS3) are set up to become multi-faceted media devices already. Extending them to do streaming content should be a doddle. An example of the MS strategy to get them into the whole Media Game this year is outlined here: I’m of the understanding Xbox is outselling PS3 quite a bit at the moment. Like it or not, AU is a TINY internet market, and as I mentioned before MS like to keep going with things until they win. I’m sure Sony won’t bow down either, but I think Xbox will be the big winner in the space this year. If MS can get the relationships and the model right.
    It is the right time, the questions are, will it be the right offer and from the right group?

    • You’re right Frank – if you have Foxtel, TiVo wont work – iQ is the solution, and it is a fine one. If you really think TiVo is niche, you haven’t used it (I’ve had mine for 6 years – it is one of the greatest household appliances I’ve ever used) My mate who set me up has about 4 of them around his house. The beauty of the Series 1 is that it’s “unlocked” so we can extract video and create a digital library of our content (very useful when I want to watch my favourite Parkinson episodes for example)

      I’ve been using my PS3 as a media centre for the past 18 months – first using the excellent TVersity ( and since Windows 7, MS has made their new Windows Media Player 11 superb at streaming content to TV via the PS3 (it just works)

      I’ve always found MS to be a marketing juggernaut (a bit like IBM but in the consumer space) so people will just but their stuff then come to grief making it all work the way it was sold to them) Certainly Windows 7 and the new WMP is remedying this.

      Gavin, I would recommend considering TiVo when you disconnect Foxtel: the savings in the first year will pay for the TiVo and all of a sudden you will have quality content at your fingertips (and no more commercials!)

      Personally I want an XBOX 360 too so I can play Halo, their signature game. Meanwhile I’m saving up for Uncharted 2 and Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 for my PS3.

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