Are cutting edge Technical innovations really important ?
By John Morrison on Oct 13, 2007
This is a good example of the kind of question to ask in a Technology company that has the potential for some fire-works (and probably getting fired)!
Anyways, there's always been the quest to find out if technological superiority truly translated into increased market share & revenues or would it just remain useful as part of a marketing spiel which may or may not cut much ice with the customer ... do products featuring cutting edge innovations truly lend significant competitive advantage ? Do buyers with decision making authority truly care as much about technological innovation as the folks working on creating these innovations ? Do market leaders and best sellers really hold technical superiority over their trailing competitors ? Does having the latest and greatest technological bells and whistles ensure a product's success in the market place over their comparitively less-technically-endowed competition ? Do investments in bleeding edge technological innovations truly generate tangible ROI or do they end up bleeding the company instead?
While some amount of thought has been given to this topic and these questions at various points in time, what triggered this post was a chance encounter with similar thoughts in a book while engaging in one of my favorite activities ... browsing books at the bookstore! Although i don't recollect the title of the book, some of the thoughts in there struck a chord and led to this post.
In many cases technical superiority that remains beneath the hood so to speak, essentially remains as a black box to the end user. The purpose of this post is not to discount the fact that technical innovations are important, its to remind that at the end of the day, as the cliche goes .. the proof of the pudding is in the eating ! ... all the innovations mean nothing if they do not meet the customer's needs adequately ... commonly expected attributes tend to also include, ease of use, intuitive interfaces, simple and clean design, doing what is intended / expected to perform correctly ... think of today's market leading products and see if many of them (if not all) incorporate & emphasize these elements.
While on this topic, one of the books on a very related subject of hi-tech marketing which merits reading is Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore. I'll borrow a Zen quote from Moore's book which relates to the stages in hi-tech market development ...
First there is a mountain,
Then there is no mountain,
Then there is.
For those of you whose curiosity has been piqued, go explore !