Monday, October 19, 2009

Before we assume that OUR tools are the be-all and the end-all

I am currently at a conference sponsored by my company, at which users of our products attend to learn about the products they have, the products we offer that they don't have, and also about general trends in the industry.

Obviously, my duty at this conference is to promote the use of our products.

But I can't get full of myself while doing it.

I was reminded of this on Sunday when I was talking to one of our customers. Like many of our customers, this one has had several generations of our product, which certainly indicates a certain degree of positive customer satisfaction.

But the customer told me on Sunday that if he found out tomorrow that our software was going to be pulled out of there and another piece of software was installed, the customer would make THAT software work also.

As is usual with the examples that I provide in this blog, this particular example can obviously be extrapolated to your situation.

Let's say that you're a developer who has created a third-party solution based upon Twitter, and let's say that for some reason you're unable to use the Twitter API any more. Unless your business plan is extremely myopic, that doesn't mean the end of the world. It's possible to take your application and use another platform for the underlying communications. Twitter not working for you? Use Facebook. Facebook not working? Use MySpace.

Conversely, let's say that you are a service provider who dominates your particular industry, and while a few people hate you, a lot of people love you. Does this mean that you can rest on your laurels because you have the market locked up? If you believe you can take it easy, take a moment and talk to people from Friendster, or CompuServe, or K Mart, or A&P. Change happens, and someone can always find a better tool.
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