One thing I observed with some (most) of the Phocuswright innovators is that a lot of the products demo-ed are (still) conceived and created by engineers. Engineers are brilliantly smart. But most suffer from the “because we can” syndrome. FAIL.
Good products are simple and useful. If you don’t meet these criteria, you will fail guaranteed. Meet them, and you have a shot. They are your minimum requirements.
Take Twitter. Turns out Twitter us useful to millions of people. Twitter is also extremely simple. Post and follow. That’s pretty much it.
Twitter could add categories, replies, forwards, tags, google maps and much, much more. Twitter could allow its users to add pictures, voice messages, video. But they have resisted. Because it would stop being simple. And that’s a big reason why Twitter is successful.
Take Kayak. Kayak is also useful. Kayak is also extremely simple in it’s essence. From->to->dates->search and you’re done. The result page focuses on the core task; find the best flight. Features are optional after the core task is completed. These features are useful in itself, but don’t stop the core task from being simple.
I suggest to all the innovators to hire a product manager who understands this, focuses on the core task that’s being satisfied, and strips everything else.
Daniel pointed me to a blog post by a online consultant in Germany who is outraged his hotel is charging him 5 euros PER HOUR for Wifi internet. He’s wondering how much water or flushing the toilet costs.
The thing that makes it really funny is that he’s giving a web 2.0 talk at the same hotel. He’s posted complaints about all kinds of social networks and is creating a viral buzz about it. He will incorporate it in his talk. Now there’s a way to make a point!
I have 3 criteria when looking for a hotel 1) clean 2) free internet 3) safe location. I don’t care about anything else. So bad research on your part Bodenseepeter! [update: turns out he didn't have a choice in the matter, see comment below]
Daniel is wondering about what the hotel can do to respond to the blogosphere. He’s offering a crate of beer for the best idea. I’m in!
Here’s mine. It depends on the exact situation. The hotel probably doesn’t generate any revenue but has a contract with a provider in return for installation and support. It also appears to be the norm in Europe to charge outrageous amounts for hotel internet access according to the comments below.
The hotel should respond by joining the conversation and promoting their rate as cheap compared to the competition! Further, they should create a “free wifi” viral campaign. Free Wifi for people who sign-up for our newsletter. The referrals they’ll generate will pay for itself. And they can keep a relationship going with the people who sign-up.
[UPDATE: The hotel will offer free Wifi starting in 2009; this was already in their plans]
I’m not at the conference but they’re always high tech at PhocusWright and the videos are posted on their website. Here are my impressions after the 10 minute demos:
I have a few more videos to go. So check back.