As the days until Demo 08 --which kicks of late next month—roll down, I think a lot about new products and how they can prosper in today’s hyper connected environment.
There’s one product in particular I’m watching that won’t be at Demo. I wish it was ready for launch, but it’s developer told me he doesn’t want to show it until it’s user interface is completed. I promised the developer I wouldn’t preannounce his product and I won’t.
But I do want to write about this particular developer’s approach to product development. Some history: this developer has one of the most diverse backgrounds I’ve ever seen in any technologist. He’s an ex-reporter, a former publishing exec, and has a first-rate pedigree in consumer and technology marketing. He’s passionate about software and has an innate ability to find and exploit niches.
What’s remarkable is this developer’s ability to find market opportunities that coincide with the rapid acceptance of new peripherals. The only comparison I’ve seen over the years was Symantec’s Turner Hall subsidiary, which created a profitable niche in the late 1980’s by publishing add-ons for Lotus 1-2-3 that let you add features such as word publishing and elegant printing solutions to Lotus spreadsheets.
This developer has already had one moderate success by adding a new capability to a popular peripheral. That first product was used by people who needed a one-click solution for printing data in a variety of formats.
Casing around for a new product, this developer looked no farther than some of the new laptops that were being used by family members and peripheral that he uses on calls to his family in the Pacific Northwest. What he noticed is that the laptops had a feature that was underused, but loaded with untapped potential.
The developer is also known for his market due diligence skills. He discovered that the particular peripheral that caught his attention is sold in 100,000 unit volumes but noted that the peripheral’s potential is seldom exploited.
I’m trying very hard not to tip the developer’s hand.
But what he’s ready to provide users is an elegant piece of software that will let you customize a very personal data type in a way that’s not been easily done before. But more important to me is that the developer’s technology reduces to a few clicks a process that use to require mastery of a very complex application.
More importantly, consumer goods and services companies will want to license versions of this application to provide fun links between their companies, product, services or events and the consumer.
It’s been a long time—since I produced Demo events—that I met with a developer whose product and business pitch made me itemize the proposed product’s potential. What struck me about this veteran entrepreneur’s idea was the vast licensing pool and the technology’s ability to create highly personalized and amusing content.
Sorry to be mysterious, but I didn’t want to tip the developer’s hand. Keep your eyes open for more on this product, as it gets ready to launch. You’ll want it, honest! Jim Forbes, 12/31/2007.