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April 12, 2007

Artificially creating barriers to adoption...

I have been looking for a group "to-do" list for a long time, and never really found what I was looking for. Most to-do lists are for individual usage - which is not what I am looking for. And unless you are Google, I do not even get why people bother developing those apps as there are a ton of applications on people's desktop that already have that service integrated - for free.

But as far as a simple group task list for truly distributed teams....there isn't much available. I finally found a solution that looked promising....integrating/synchronizing with Google calendar, etc. - all for $15. So I bought it thinking that would solve my problem. Except that when I tried to invite one of my closest associates, it required that he too buy that same application. That was almost a week ago, and of course that has not happened yet.

How can people do that? Group applications already have plenty of barriers to adoption to overcome - so why a company would artificially add one extra barrier in the mix is a mystery to me. I bet you that most "potential" users of this app would use it with teams of 2-3 people. So if that is the case, charge the buyer of the app $30-50 instead of trying to get $15 from all the users. That way you may end up with some real users instead of frustrated buyers.

Elementary...my dear Watson...

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April 11, 2007

Leveraging envy to generate demand

This past Sunday, the Boston Globe reported on new research that shows that giving preferential treatment to a few can generate demand from everyone. The research was part of doctoral dissertation by Allison K.C. Lo.

As part of the research she did some amazing experiments. Some which were somewhat predictable - like the fact that by giving away swimsuits to the Olympic swimmers Speedo increased its sales of swimwear, or that by hosting free tastings exclusively for bartenders, Belvedere Vodka became one of the most successful Vodka launches. It is a known fact in marketing that people want to be associated with the "experts."

Other experiments were less evident, such as the one that showed that you do not even need an expert endorsement to convey that expert comparison. In one of those experiments, people were offered a camcorder with a $30 gift certificate to either Wal-Mart of for a for a Seagate external hard drive, which a tech-savvy buyer might use to store digital photos or video. What they found is that people preferred the Wal-Mart gift certificate over the Seagate because it gave them more flexibility. When they repeated the experiment with comparable camcorders that each came with just one offer, the researchers found that whichever camcorder came with the Seagate coupon won. The reason was because the hard drive promotion was perceived as something that high end camcorder buyers would buy. And people wanted to be associated with the high end guys.

So leveraging envy as part of your marketing works...probably just like leveraging people's ego, avarice and ambition...

What's next?

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April 9, 2007

Doing market research differently

The Enterprise 2.0 RAVE that I described last Friday is not just another event. It came about as a market research project to increase the understanding around everything Enterprise 2.0 - product requirements, maturity of the market, success of pilot programs, etc. But instead of spending hours on the phone or in person doing interviews with willing candidates we decided to do something fun and get them all together at once for a giant brainstorming session.

The benefits of doing it this way are quite clear. Instead of having a one way delivery of value we created an environment in which there is a two way exchange of value - as every practitioner who is involved with Enterprise 2.0 projects is dying to meet other people who are going through the same pains. And the value to the market researcher is much higher as well - if we get 80 people to attend that means a minimum of 30 focused conversations with 8 people each on specific issues surrounding Enterprise 2.0 deployments.

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April 5, 2007

Ready for an Enterprise 2.0 Rave?


Here is another cool project I am working on - organizing an Enterprise 2.0 RAVE in NYC on May21-22 with the great team at Longworth Venture Partners .

If you are a practitioner looking at deploying web 2.0 tools in your enterprise or actively strugling with pilot projects to try to do that, you should not miss this event. And if you do plan on going, use the link below to get a $250 discount for the RAVE. Seating will be limited and we already have two registrants!

The paint is still wet, so if something does not work correctly let us know.

See you there.

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Cross discipline innovation

passionsm.jpgI had the pleasure to participate in an innovation workshop with Frans Johansson, author of the Medici Effect, down at the Business Innovation Factory in Rhode Island.

Here are three AHA moments that I jotted down in my notebook.

The method of reverse assumptions - where you jot down the assumptions about your business and then see if you can create a business by reversing those assumptions - is a great method to brainstorm around business innovation. But while it may be hard for you to imagine a business that is based on reverse assumption, you should always remember that it is much easier for someone who is not in your business to imagine a business based on those reverse assumptions. So force yourself to let go of the assumptions because if you don't, you might get blind-sighted by an outsider.

While it may be a well-known fact that homogeneous teams ramp up faster than diverse teams, and that they plateau at a productivity level that is half that of diverse teams, most people forget that over time diverse teams will start acting as homogeneous teams - so you need to break them up. Most people also do not realize that diverse teams where only a few people contribute are essentially behaving like homogeneous teams.

People adjust their personal risk behavior to the overall risk of the environment. So increased car safety features do not decrease the overall number of accidents because people will start driving faster or just less carefully. The same is true in business, you cannot decrease the risk of failure by increasing resources - money, time, etc. People will just squander them in more risky behavior. That also means that if you have an idea and passion for that that idea you have to pursue it as the risk of failure will not change with resources.


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April 4, 2007

A big mac - freestyle

Here is another great example of consumers making the ads for large companies - in this case McDonald.

Notice - almost 5,000,000 viewers so far!
(link to video here for RSS subscribers)

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