Is it foolish to continue an obsolete product?

What features of my product create unanticipated passion?

What would you have to do to make your company, and its product, so essential to your customer that they would refuse to let your business die? Imagine that kind of passion for what you do. Imagine a customer base so emotionally invested in the unique characteristics and qualities of your particular brand that they […]

Weak Signals

How can I take advantage of emerging trends and fads?

“Weak signals” are the equivalent of a canary in a coal mine. They are the unspoken needs and wants of your customers, and they are also the arrows pointing to what your customers are going to need and want in the future, even if they themselves don’t know it yet. If you pay attention to […]

Typing Instructor: Forget the obvious solution

Could I create a standardized offering of a custom product?

One of the first products I created as a software developer was a touch-typing program called Typing Instructor. This was back in 1985, and at that time there was no such thing as a standard PC. Instead you owned a specific brand and had access to the programs that had been written specifically for that make, […]

Know that your customers’ needs will change

What will future customers’ buying criteria be?

A big part of my business is being aware of, and responding to, the life cycles of my industry and my customers. Some of these are easy to see; you only need a cursory understanding of the effect of OPEC on gas prices in the early ’70s to understand why cars became more fuel efficient […]

Where are your future customers?

How will you identify and locate customers in five years?

Every hot trend reaches a point I like to call the “Uncle Larry moment.” You know what I mean. It’s the juncture where one of your older relatives announces he’s taken up something that had seemed cutting edge, futuristic, and exciting up till that second. Facebook and Twitter have long passed the Uncle Larry moment. […]

Being on board with social evolutions

How will you identify and locate customers in five years?

Every hot trend reaches a point I like to call the “Uncle Larry moment.” You know what I mean. It’s the juncture where one of your older relatives announces he’s taken up something that had seemed cutting edge, futuristic, and exciting up till that second. Facebook and Twitter have long passed the Uncle Larry moment. […]

Changing customers

What customer segment will emerge in five years that doesn’t exist today?

At HP, we have an Executive Briefing Center; where our large corporate clients come to be briefed about the latest technologies and products that are either in development or about to hit the market. Now, technically this service is for them. We are offering them information and opportunities to stay ahead of the newest advancements […]

Decide to Keep or Push Out Customers

Who do I not want to use my product now, but may want to in the future?

We tend to assume that any customer is a good customer. However, if you find that you’re working like crazy and have a solid and reliable customer base, but you’re still not making the profits you expected, then ask the Killer Question, Who do I not want to use my product? Do you remember back […]

What customers are saying and thinking about you

Who complains about my product?

A few years ago, a passenger complaint letter to Virgin Atlantic circulated around the web. It was very long, fully illustrated with photos, clearly somewhat tongue-in-cheek, and very funny, but it made a few good points about the bad food and surly service this particular passenger had experienced. Almost three years later it still occasionally […]

Keep your users passionate in a positive way

Who is passionate about my product or something it relates to?

I’ve never shopped at the online craft marketplace Etsy.com. I’m not often in the market for hand-knitted iPod cozies, customized guitar cables, or the like. However, since 2005 Etsy.com has signed more than 400,000 merchants and nearly seven million users. Their annual sales figures for 2010 were $273 million. Even more interesting to me is […]