Is it better to be first? Or be late but do it right?

Its new!
Its amazing! It’s the first of it’s kind!
It’s… Not quite right…

That’s the situations most companies fall into. Some new technology, idea, or functionality comes out.  And all of a sudden the market has a couple items that take advantage of these technologies.  But none of them gain much of a foot hold.  It’s not until a little while later someone comes on the scene and it becomes just universally accepted, or in some case “everyone” just has to have it.  Then a little bit later the market becomes flooded with copy cat items, none of which take off , even though it offers the same or similar options.  What happened?

Those early companies typically react in fear that their competition will come out with a product and take a foothold of the market-share.  So they plan on releasing this new product, idea, service. The problem is, the foundation for that technology isn’t there yet. They tried to jump on the train before it comes into the station.

What’s wrong with getting ahead of the curve with technology? Other than your hard-core fan boys, and those that just “have to have” the latest things, the majority consumers are more concerned with the function. These first off the line models bring these new items to the consumer, but because it’s new, many times it can miss the main point of what these items mean to the masses. They often forget to include the part that make everyone go “ooooh that’s why I need it”.  The people who made it seem to just be blind to it.  And as such the item flops.

Then there’s the the other end of the issue.  The concept has been out there and there are many versions available.  The technology is widely accepted and people are buying those products.  Even if there is no “clear winner” you still have so many variations that it becomes close to impossible to stand out. Unless you nail the “perfect” you’ll be awash in the different products. And even if you make the perfect product, earlier version you’ve made will tarnish and influence the consumers from buying it.

So which is a better idea? Ideally you do both. But that doesn’t happen. More often than not, the solution OS to pay attention to the consumer. The average consumer. Not the bleeding edge tech guys (although more on them later), but your standard typical consumer. They are also referred to as “the 90%”. These are the people who make products popular and as such, profitable. Paying attention and meeting there needs isn’t enough. You have to find out what they are asking for. Why they are asking for it. What they are reaching for. Half the time they aren’t even aware they are asking for the solution you are trying to give. Or that the one thing they want, is actually just a smaller piece of a bigger problem to be solved.

And although the tech edge people aren’t going to be your main consumers, they still have a lot to offer you.  They will be the ones pushing the boundaries of what the tech can do.  What they are doing now will be were most people will be in 2-3 years.  You can see why they are using the technology.  What problems are they solving?  What work arounds are they using to fix things that aren’t available?  These are the features you need to work into your release of the technology.  They will be your warning bell.  They will show you where technology will most likely be used in the future.

A new product must strike a balance.  It has to wait till there is enough infrastructure
(or create enough infrastructure) for the technology to be used properly.  It has to be first on the scene with a good solution that is more than just “this new thing”.  It needs to pay attention to what the early adopters are doing with that technology.  There must be an issue it is solving that will get the masses interested in it.  If you can combine all of these things you have an instant success on your hands.

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About Tasel

Sometimes writer on things technology, Disney, MineCraft, and food.
This entry was posted in Mental Exercise, Technology. Bookmark the permalink.

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