Monthly Archives: June 2012

Is being ahead of time a good enough excuse?

If you look at two extreme outcomes for an innovative product, it either goes on to revolutionize an industry or is ignored by the consumers till someone who is a better product developer and marketer comes and takes a second look at it. The latter is supported by one of those excuses that people use to justify a failed product in the past when they see a successful one today: well we did it 10 years back, though it was not a big success at that time because we were ahead of time.

A product fails when either you have not done the innovation right or you were not able to market the product right. There are many things that go in innovative product development. For a product to be successful, it should be usable, priced to justify the value and should meet the infrastructure constraints. It should have something significant enough for the consumer to care for it.

Many innovative products play on the front of changing the consumers’ mindset. That’s where marketing enters the picture. Marketing is the most essential thing that defines the success or failure of a product. Every good product that gets successful has a great marketing behind it. Marketing for a product starts at the very inception of the product development process. It brings the consumer lens to the product. Answers the questions like what problem are you solving? Are you supplementing something or complementing something? Are you messaging it correctly to your consumers?

If a product is not up to the mark, it will not survive. Work on getting it right. But if your product is the best thing out there, get the right marketing in place. That will accelerate the time enough so that you are not ahead of time.

Sprint vs. Marathon

Sprint and marathon, the two forms of running requiring very different skills. Both are challenging, both are goal-oriented and both require a whole lot of training. But it’s quite apparent that the two are as different as they can be.

Can a sprinter become a marathon runner? The challenge here is you cannot run a bunch of sprints one after the other and combine them to make a marathon run. It just doesn’t work like that. Couple of core reasons being planning and perseverance. A marathon runner has to plan and run the whole 26 miles. Train for it. Conserve the energy to finish it. Be persistent to continue at several points on the way when the common human instinct is to give up. And the most important thing, for someone who has been a sprinter, is to take the leap and give up sprinting to become a marathon runner.

The same principle of sprint vs. marathon applies to a business. Any start-up is a sprinter’s heaven. You run one sprint after the other. You release one product after the other. You put something out there, test the waters, update it and go for the next thing. A great way to run fast and try different things. But for a start-up to be a viable business, you need to be persistent. If you believe in your product, you got to stick to it to make it better everyday and go the whole way. You need to plan for it, bring the right people on board and keep the ball rolling. In other words, you got to get ready to run the marathon.