There is an incredible amount of buzz surrounding the launch of the iPhone app store today. You walk around University Ave. in Palo Alto, CA and it sounds like everyone is building an iPhone app… Before you had out and build one for yourself, here are some things to remember:
- Watch the numbers– Apple is hoping to ship 10-12 million iphones this year. This is 1% of the total estimated phones shipments this year. When compared to the total number of phones in the world (3.3 billions), the share is even smaller. If your success rely on mass penetration, go look elsewhere.
- Ignore the numbers- Continue reading “Should you build an iphone application?” →
In his fascinating book, Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely describes the lure of the zero priced item. Dan provides examples from the real life: in his experiments, people selected Lindt truffles for 30 cents over Hershey kisses for 3 cents, but when given a choice, preferred a now free Hershey kiss over 27 cents truffle. The conclusion from this experiment and many other is clear: we love free.
No other place as the Silicon Valley has ever produced more free stuff: we have a free search, free reviews, free price comparison and free web conferencing. Almost everything is offered for free, in an attempt to win us over and break our old paying habits. In a rational world, we would have carefully considered the benefits of each option and select the best for us, no matter if it is free or not. In Ariely’s predictably irrational world, we will always go for the free option. Continue reading “Commiting to Zero” →
Last week I wrote about measuring customer satisfaction using only one powerful question. Between then and now I was approached by two companies to gauge mine: Netflix and Telenav. I like both services a lot but Netflix proves time and again that they have mastered the web 2.0 techniques of measuring satisfaction and performance whileTelenav looks like it outsourced customer engagement to an agency from the 90s… Continue reading “How not to Measure Customer Satisfaction” →
We all know that companies that offer superb customer experience and enjoy high customer satisfaction are more successful and competitive in the long run. Often when I meet managers in for Small and Medium Businesses (SMB) companies, I hear that they are convinced that their customers love them. When I ask for a “proof,” they say that they just know it: they don’t need to measure it since they talk with their customers all the time. When I dig more, I usually discover that they think that measuring customer satisfaction is too hard and expensive for a small company. In this post I will try to offer an easy way to measure and compare customer satisfaction for SMB companies.
Why measure? You should measure customer satisfaction for the same reason you measure sales. When you want a number to go up you ought to measure it so you can establish a baseline and a way to measure the impact of business strategy on customer satisfaction. Imagine investing in marketing without checking the sales impact, and you will get the idea. Continue reading “Measuring Customer Satisfaction, the SMB way” →
I am often asked about strategy, execution and the relationship between them, and I ended up explaining the issue in an e-mail today. After reading the e-mail again, I figured it was generic enough to be widely shared, so here goes…
Rule # 1- No need for “VP of Strategy”: strategy is so well embedded in the organization operating system that outsourcing it to a VP of strategy is hardly ever a good idea. The rationale is clear: when you are not making/selling/marketing anything, your strategic ideas will dwindle or become disconnected from the company reality. Say you promoted your bright director of product marketing to be the VP of strategy—sooner or later she will lose the source of inspiration she had, which was the constant work with customers and partners and the actual creation of the product and will not be able to impact strategy as she did before.
Rule # 2- Strategy is the business of the CEO: Continue reading “Five practical rules on strategy and execution” →
Last week I wrote the first part of the Is SaaS for me post. It talked about two important distinctions of the SaaS model: It changes the power play between the customer and the vendor and assures that the vendors work for the customers every day. This part will cover some more distinctions like simplicity, security and maintenance. Continue reading “Is SaaS For Me? (Part 2)” →
People write a lot about SaaS and focus on the famous “no-software” phrase that Marc Benioff coined. What many people fail to discuss is that the SaaS model, even if one ignores the products themselves, brings real value to customers and puts them in the driver’s seat for the first time. So for once, let’s not talk about technology or delivery mechanisms, but rather focus on the change in the most basic rules of the game that the SaaS revolution is creating, with or without a planning hand from the SaaS companies side. Most of this change is affecting my favorite segment, the Small and medium businesses (SMBs), so let’s talk about how SaaS impacts the way SMBs treat IT. Continue reading “Is SaaS for me? (Part One)” →
I am not claiming to be a network security expert, but here is a trend: while SMBs consistently place network security as their number one IT priority (Gartner SMB IT survey is only one example), many CEOs have “outsourced” the issue to their overworked IT departments, assuming that they will know what to do. As a CEO/CFO or any other C-level executive, there are some questions you should ask yourself about your network security and about the assets you actually protect.
What is the business impact of network security breaches? Actually, I can’t answer this question for you without knowing your business. What I do know is that there is something you want to protect. Continue reading “So where is network security on your priority list?” →
I just ended a two-day strategy workshop with a small startup, less than 3 years old and 12 employees strong. The CEO and founder figured out after 3 years of being reactive and flexible that being a real software company requires focus and clear strategy and was smart enough to stop everything and take the time to think about what’s next. I think that 2-3 years from now the company will remember this workshop as a turning point for the company. Not because of the value of the workshop—all we did was synthesize what they already knew—but because it was the first time they stopped and decided on their own future. Not because a customer asked, not because someone woke up in the morning with an idea—they took the time to go through the process of developing a strategy and creating the big fat arrow in which the company will walk (or better yet, run) in the future. Continue reading “The Power of Focus” →
The blogosphere and yours truly gave Microsoft a very hard time about Vista. My claim was that I truly don’t care if Vista is easier, nicer or has many new features as long as it is so much slower than Windows XP, its predecessor.
During the last month, Microsoft started releasing its first service pack for Vista: SP1. I downloaded the whole 600MB of it and installed it, and guess what? Windows Vista is working better and faster now. It is still not XP, but the operating system works well enough for me not to complain. I guess that the Vista ordeal cost Microsoft hundreds of millions in lost goodwill. So how come Microsoft was not smart enough to release the right Vista in the first place? I can think of few possible scenarios, read all of them: one can be relevant to the way you release products… Continue reading “Do You Have the Right Beta Program?” →