Wednesday, July 09, 2003

The Power of Low-End Users

AI Startup? Strategic Planning for a Successful Start-up "Historic product performance data shows technology advancements occur at a faster rate than users can absorb the performance improvements. Consequently, product performance improvements migrate towards the high-end users. The natural tendency of well-run businesses is to design for their best customers. Financial pressures migrate products to the high-end where profit margins are greater — leaving the low-end users disenfranchised."

"These low-end users, disenfranchised by having to pay premiums for product performance beyond their requirements, are willing to switch products. For example, the first transistors did not have the performance to replace vacuum tubes in the large stand-alone television sets. They did however, offer individuals with poor hearing the first opportunity for a small hearing aid. Hearing impaired users jumped at the chance to use products with this technology, despite the inferior audio performance when compared to the existing cumbersome products."

"Many new product ideas will come from these experts working with potential end-users."

As they mention, in the era of plentiful computing (they say PDAs) and the Internet the disenfranchised can be given access to these technologies and drive it in unexpected ways.

This is one of the things I first blogged, disruptive technologies.
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