Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Abandon the Super User, Focus on Customers
I am the digerati -- more or less -- which is exactly why companies should ignore me.
My television is run by one of the five computers I own. My phone receives RSS feeds, email and texts all day. My Outlook Calendar is synched with Google Calendar. I have a multimedia blog about media and journalism, complete with a wiki and social network.
All that gadgetry is necessary for me to do my job, but as the folks at ReadWriteWeb break down, the "digitally savvy," high-income, wealthy few who are early technology adopters are not great predictors for businesses.
Turns out the signal-to-noise they produce -- along with what we second-tiered adopters produce -- isn't the best indicator of what services and software applications will "make it."
Super-users -- or supernodes, which are the people at the center of large networks of people -- can be so disruptive to services that Om Malik at Gigaom suggests technology companies may want to charge these folks for excessive use since it can bog down systems, thus turning off regular users.
It's an interesting proposition. But there's one problem: super users get nasty when they feel slighted and charging them money isn't going to fix that.
Super users demand service in a free world.
FriendFeed is an aggregation service that allows users compile all of their -- and their friends' -- pictures, videos, blogs and Tweets in one place. It's a great idea unless someone deletes on of their threads. When that happens, the comments that everyone else left disappears as well. That enraged Robert Scoble -- one of the Web's superest of super-users.
The big question for FriendFeed -- and other companies -- is this: who cares if the super users don't get what they want?
The business model doesn't depend on making the digerati happy. VHS didn't beat Betamax because it was a better technology. Microsoft isn't a flashier technology than Apple.
And the Web won't be ruled by the tech elite.
By Brad at 12:43 AM | Comments (2)