Develop the future today!

Are you getting ready to develop an app for the future or are you hesitating when to release your MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to the public? Have you included the intellectual return in your investment calculation? We can all learn from Yat Siu, CEO of Outblaze.

On 11 August 2016 the Infiniti LAB at the Infiniti Showroom held a lunch event featuring Yat Siu, CEO of Outblaze. During the lunch the moderator Kelly Yau (from Infiniti Lab) lead Yat through a number of interesting questions from reduction of friction, to emoticons, to getting you MPV (Minimum Viable Product) off the bat.

Reduce friction

After an introduction and a short history of Outblaze, the talk moved on to the importance of reducing friction in any interaction with your customer, whether on your APP or your website. Yat’s position is to make the customer experience as good as possible – whether you are providing information or if you are selling a product or service. In short, the key is to put the customer at the forefront.

We can all work to make our websites and apps better and more customer friendly, there is no question about that. We can also often improve the Q&A experience, be it via e-mail or on an onsite chat function. But the most important is to be able to keep our customers happy and interested. So the challenge is to respond to customers queries as soon as possible.

The reality is it takes time and resources to reply to all enquiries in a timely manner. And here is where the developments of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) BOTs for customer service becomes very interesting. The development in this field is moving forward very fast. So if you have a challenge in regards to being able to give timely feedback to questions, be it via chat or e-mail, then you may want to investigate whether it is possible for you to enlist the support of an A.I. BOT for customer support.

Add up your niche markets

After the discussion on “reduction of friction”, the dialogue moved on to MVP’s (Minimum Viable Product) and niche markets.

It’s still easy to fall into the trap of geographical limitations for a product or a “regional” market when in fact the internet now gives us access to all markets at once. Your product may have a niche audience in Hong Kong and a niche audience in Singapore etc., but if you start to add all these separate “niches” together you may find that you have quite a good potential customers base out there.

In order to reach these “niche” groups you need to think less “geography” and more “community” and find places where your customers “hang out” and interact with them there. These “niche” markets can also be good for a soft launch as these customers often are much more forgiving than the general market and can be a very good test bed for your 1st launch of an MVP.

MVP and the intellectual return of your investment

In regards to MVP, Yat said “swing the bat, get them [the products] out there”. At the same time do not send “alfa” products to the market. Focus on the look and the right function, explain to the customer (and investors) “what problem are you trying to solve”.

If you have done all that you can and the product still fails, then do a good “postmortem”. Find out what did not work. Many companies who have a product or service that fails are quick to distance themselves from the painful and negative experience of a failure. Instead there is a lot of value in going back to find out “why did we fail”. This can be for a big project or a single customer interaction – learn from failures and you will be stronger going forward.

Doing a good “postmortem” is also very much related to “the intellectual return in your investment calculation”. You invest capital to get capital back, but don’t forget that you may also get invaluable learnings along the way. You just need to be open and set aside your fears of discussing failures. From the onset make sure you include the value of “intellectual return” in your investment calculation and the follow up process.

To develop your app for the future

We have all heard about Moore’s law, the doubling of transistors in an integrated circuit every twelve months or so. The effect of this has been that we have been getting faster and faster hardware and better and better connectivity with amazing speed.

This of course means both an opportunity and a challenge when you develop you “next app” or “next online service”. How do you make sure that the design of your product is a crowd pleaser and top-of-the line when its ready in two years’ time? Your app may be a “crowd pleaser” today when the design is on paper, but in two years’ time, you “risk” that the platform you are building it for is “four times as fast” and then your product will not be seen as revolutionary as it does today.

Yat wrapped up the talk with a very clear message: envision the future now and build your app or service for it – aim far and high. For example, envision the display capabilities and graphics to be “X” times that of today, or the uplink speed to your cloud service to be “Y” times of today – take a leap of faith and set “X” and “Y” at a “crazy” level and you will have a good foundation for having a killer app in the market in two years’ time.

/Jens and Gushi

At the pen for Ripple Effect Consultancy

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