Posts filed under ‘product development’

Are you working on a good idea?


October 8, 2010 at 10:59 am Leave a comment

Before you build the product, write the ad.

On Sept. 1, Inc. Magazine published a list of seventeen “words of wisdom” from serial entrepreneurs whose companies are on this year’s Inc. 500. The second item on the list caught my eye. It is the headline of this blog post and was attributed to David Friend, CEO of Carbonite.

The company earned it’s spot as America’s fastest-growing IT service company by selling unlimited online backup space for personal computers. Carbonite grew 11,208 percent in three years, earning $19.1 million in revenue.

What can we learn from David Friend’s admonition to write the ad before we build the product? It’s simple. Building a product is painstaking, detailed work. It takes a lot of time, energy and investment to get things right. Once it’s ready, the sales and marketing folks have to sell it. It is the product after all.

But writing the ad first makes us focus on the customer before we’re committed to a feature set. If we can communicate a real solution to our customers’ needs in just a few words, we’ll do a better job of designing the product. If we lose sight of the customer, we’ll have a much harder sell.

September 8, 2010 at 3:25 pm Leave a comment

The “dog food” test for new ideas.

via Ben Parr, Editor (Mashable)

Almost every great business, both big and small, can trace its roots to an entrepreneur (or more often, a couple of entrepreneurs) with only their determination and an idea for a new enterprise. The very first step for almost any entrepreneur tends to be the idea: finding something that other companies don’t do well or simply don’t do at all.

While you may be an entrepreneur who’s brimming with countless ideas, or maybe you’re a group of friends who see an opportunity, you should never just “jump right in.” Most of the time, that approach ends with heartbreak and a lot of lost cash.

The first thing my entrepreneurial mentor taught me as I was learning about the startup world was the “Will the Dog Eat the Dog Food?” test. Just as Purina tests to make sure canines will eat the dog food they create before it goes to market, a smart entrepreneur has to test and research his or her idea before turning it into a business.

The first step in testing whether the dog will eat the dog food is to answer these questions…

Read more at American Express Small Business

January 8, 2010 at 10:26 am 1 comment

Customer input from the social web.

Several months ago, I looked at some corporate initiatives to use social networking tools to interact with customers and learn what they have to say about a company’s products and services. I thought they were a bit pricy for midsize companies and predicted we would see lower cost options in the near future. The future is here. is currently in beta. It offers a simple, easy to use, online tool that makes it easy for customers to communicate their opinions, wants and needs and empowers companies to take action.

The pricing is right for midsize companies at $50/month or $495/year with a 30 day free trial and money back guarantee. The feature set is pretty basic on the “suggester” side. Anyone can make a suggestion or rate suggestions made by others. The company can respond to suggesters with a thank you or request for clarification. And each suggestion can be marked as implemented, coming soon, under review or filed away.

in a comment to my earlier post, an IdeaStorm manager suggested the power of their solution was on the back end. This may be so, but at $5 per user, this power requires a significantly larger investment.

Vivek Bhaskaran, CEO of Survey Analytics, developers of QuestionPro and IdeaScale commented on one of my earlier posts. He said, “I think the model of charging per user (or per idea) is NOT how we plan on marching down. We’ll have flat fee of anywhere between Free (yes), $15/Month and $199/Month.”

Here are some examples of who/how IdeaScale is being used: (Politics) (Large Biz) (Small Biz)

August 18, 2008 at 7:56 am 2 comments

Tapping the wisdom of customers.

In The Wisdom of Crowds, New Yorker business columnist James Surowiecki argues that “under the right circumstances, groups of ordinary people are remarkably intelligent, and are often smarter than the smartest people in them.” So, I was excited to read about Dell’s Idea Storm in Laurie Clemans’ blog.

Apparently, Dell has been inviting customers to share ideas for new/improved products and services for over a year. Anyone can register, post an idea and rate (promote or demote) ideas posted by others. and see what Dell is planing to develop. According to Clemans, “the Dell Community has contributed: 8,949 ideas, promoted 615,131 times, and posted 69,456 comments.”

Continue Reading March 29, 2008 at 10:13 am 1 comment

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