Sunday, September 13, 2009

Change or Become Forgotten

How long will your business last if you don't make changes?

Even if you are at the top of the heap right now, let's say you own the marketplace and whenever someone thinks of _____________ they think of your company.

You have Top of Mind Awareness, you Own the Brand.

Sitting on top of the mountain is nice while it lasts, but don't bask in the glory. There are plenty of others climbing that mountain wanting to knock down and become #1.

This applies to nearly every business, even monopolies.

In my town, the mayor is challenging the electric company. We are nearing the end of a 35 year lease agreement between the city of Fort Wayne, Indiana and Indiana & Michigan Power over who owns what.

I & M probably thought they were a shoe-in for a renewal. This one will be decided in the courts.

Not all battles are as obvious or public.

Wendy's, I believe, was the first fast food restaurant to reinvent the way people got their food when they introduced the drive up window.

A few years ago, a friend of mine opened another location of his successful coffee shops and we looked at his tracking for drive thru vs. walk in business and 80% of his customers stayed in their cars. That trend gave him direction for the next phase of his business expansion.

By the way, usually, I don't include this much of my own thinking on this website, I have another one that is strictly my own words on Marketing and Advertising that I keep updated weekly here.

But what inspired me today was the following from Seth Godin talking about expectations in this rapidly changing world:

The end of dumb software

Ical In the age of rapid cycles and connected data, how long are we going to have to settle for dumb software?

Here's the detail screen from iCal. If I write a long text to go with an appointment, the only way to see the whole thing is to hit "edit." But I don't want to edit it, I just want to see it.

If I try to schedule an appointment for 2 pm, it requires me to not only hit the 2, but also select pm. I have never once had a meeting at 2 am. Shouldn't it know that?

When I type in someone's name, how come it doesn't know that this is someone I know, correspond with and meet with often? Why isn't it connected?

I have tens of thousands of people in my address book. Some of these folks were put there ten years ago and, alas, are dead or long gone. Do I really have to go through and delete people manually? Why isn't my address book smart enough to sort the list in reverse order of use, so I can see records I haven't encountered in seven years first and start from there? Or, better, why doesn't this address book hook up with other address books of trusted peers and automatically correct and update?

The people who make desktop software are making themselves obsolete. When you start developing on the web, your default is to be smart, to interact and to be open (with other software and with your users). Desktop software (like Word) is insanely unaware of what I do, why I do it and who I do it with. Right now, the desktop folks have the momentum of the incumbent. Not for long. Time to hurry.

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