Product for the future

My favorite session at 5th edition was by Atul Chitnis who reinforced the basics of business. He made one remark which seems obvious but something that we don’t put in practice:

“Today is history. Build for the future so that your product can be ready just in time.”

As opposed to only thinking of right now, taking a year to build it and realize it is no longer needed, or more likely, it is no longer the way things are done.

This statement immediately came to my mind when I was reading the announcement of ‘Triple Play’ by Airtel:

Rs. 999 per month which gives 135 channels including 256 kbps broadband speed with unlimited download and a landline connection.

First, you can imagine internet access completely on the television in homes, say in a year or so.

Second, if you combine this with their Online Desktop feature(1), and you can imagine how people will be accessing computing on their TV just a year down the lane without ever buying a traditional desktop computer. And best of all, users can easily install/uninstall applications (on rental basis) without hassles/worries/dangers of “ruining your computer” since Airtel will be hosting the computing facility.

The question is: If you are a company (whether big or small) in the tech space, do your products and services take this into account?

Similarly, we all know that netbooks are the rage now. Atul predicted that these are stop-gap measures until people realize that they can do the same things with slightly higher-end phones.

Again, ask the same question above.

Technology indeed changes so fast and changes our lifestyle along with it.

Other useful points from the talk:

  • It is not the tools you use. It’s how you use them.
  • Those who forget history (i.e. learn from others’ mistakes) are doomed to repeat it.
  • If product is good, price is right, people will buy it.
  • A product is more than just code. A customer wants a solution and a long term relationship with the service provider.
  • Today is history. Build for the future so that your product can be ready in time.
  • Markets can be created.
  • Hint: Assume connectivity. Local storage no longer matters.
  • Biggest products are mobile products now. Simple products, not big things.
  • Advertising doesn’t pay. Unless you’re Yahoo or Google.
  • VC funding is not a viable business model. Unless you’re a VC.

(1) Has this service actually taken off? Who uses it, I wonder.

4 thoughts on “Product for the future

  1. “Today is history. Build for the future so that your product can be ready just in time.”

    I have been pondering about this for way too long , I think for a product to be successful and relevant when launched, it has to be evolutionary or acceptably revolutionary( case in point apple – newton ).

  2. True , advertisement doesn’t pay ! The graveyard of tech has Tombstones to certify this. Also people wont pay for repetitive services. Dont expect people to pay for webmail.

    My biggest worry about tech is the “licensing” model with the evolution of cloud computing. The notion these days is services pay and products are just a means to sell services and build dependency. My biggest worry is some M**shaft based in Rdmond , Wa might just tell you that your OS is service you need to pay year after year.

    1. @Swaroop.fsw It looks like the licensing model is going to be like that, aren’t we already doing that by outsourcing our email, calendar, docs to Google? And so on.

      P.S. It might be confusing to someone else that there are two “Swaroop”s discussing here, LOL. Do you have a surname that we can add to differentiate? :)

  3. Hi Swaroops,

    You guys are just jumping guns. Dont worry about the jargons like cloud,SaaS,PaaS and rental desktops. Forget 1 year, its not even going to be there in the next 5 yrs.These things are not just going to make it in the near future. Even if they do there is enough room and enough scope of on-premise stuff to exist. For the cloud and the true SaaS companies to really make a difference, there should fundamentally be a change in the way infrastructure and technology is laid out today. Let me tell you when people will truly rent a desktop(from my experience of working for a cloud desktop renting company) – people will rent only do if
    1- The network speeds are comparable to disk reads. Why would you otherwise divorce your desktop? with fast FC and gigabit switches, its slowly getting there but not the rate which people think.
    2- When all the apps and services are truly multi-tenant. This is more a technology problem which we can think people will adopt if there is enough incentive.
    3- When there is one true big microsoft like cloud company. i dont see there a single company who is truly embracing the cloud. Maybe Amazon to some extent. You need atleast one google or microsoft or Oracle in the making for the cloud.


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