I invented NOAH, an animated character technology for online applications. It was very effective and successful for online training projects, bridging the gap between instructor-led and pure online coursework. We adapted it to work on our website, a cute little avatar flying around and pointing at things and explaining benefits and action items, popping up graphics in the middle of a speech, and so on. Several (I stress the word “several”) people mentioned how cool it was, so I, being the addicted entrepreneur I am, decided to expand the product line by developing NOAH for websites.
The new product required an easy interface where customers could build their own avatar and design what it said and did on the page. That was expensive programming. And, we couldn’t resist adding every cool feature we thought of. After 8 months and lots of dollars, we launched it.
It was a party that no one came to. We’re waiting. We’re waiting. Nothing. A competitor, SitePal, seemed to be working (we really didn’t know how well it was doing), so we figured we’d just keep marketing it a things will work out. They didn’t. No one (OK, we had two customers)… Continue reading
There are very few unique ideas in the world; don’t think you are the first person in the billions of people in the world to think of it. The difference between success and failure relies on a lot of factors, like management and customer service, but every successful product has some distinguishing characteristic, some competitive advantage, that sets it apart from the competitors. These unique characteristics succeed because the customer sees more value in them—and consequently, in your product—than other products.
Not every successful feature translates into a competition-crushing product. Your product may have a price advantage, but that might only appeal to a small part of the market interested in ease of use. Your product may be blue instead of red, and that, for some crazy reason, might appeal to a huge part of the market, making your sales skyrocket. There are tons of examples of products in which a seemingly simple difference made a huge difference.
So, finding that simple difference can lead to success. How do you find it? I’ve been studying sales process for many years and I think I have an idea. In sales, one important thing to ask prospects is how… Continue reading
Or, it is the other way around: They have great ideas and ask: “now what?” and “do I have what it takes?”
I wrote my book for the last group, but I find there are a lot of people in the first group, too. One thing is common to both, however: the word “idea”. The second group already came up with an idea and the first group needs to come up with an idea. So, what’s the process of coming up with “ideas”?
I don’t necessarily believe in the pure “light bulb going on” explanation. Great ideas come from somewhere. Like the first big bubble of a pot of water set to boil for spaghetti, getting a worthy idea doesn’t just happen; there’s a lot of planning (filling the pot, turning on the fire) and time. The water just sits there for a while, the potential for boiling just invisibly building up. There are a bunch of little bubbles, but barely noticeable, especially if… Continue reading