Having just read Chris Anderson’s latest book Free I thought I’d share a great little quote from the book:
“…a technologist’s job is not to figure out what technology is good for. Instead it is to make technology so cheap, easy to use, and ubiquitous that anybody can use it, so that it propagates around the world and into every possible niche. We, the users, will figure out what to do with it, because each of us is different: different needs, different ideas, different knowledge, and different ways of interacting with the world.”
What he is saying is, focus on the product, making it cheaper, easier and ubiqutous. Your users will figure out the best way to use it (stop forcing them to do it your way).
37Signals is a great example of this, with the likes of basecamp (project management software), their focus was on developing the product, getting out of the customers way and letting them do their job. In fact this is their development focus across all their products. And of course you can get an iPhone App, send messages in basecamp through email, various other widgets and desktop applications.
Even if you wind back the clock, the postal system is a technology within itself, over time the cost of posting a letter dropped as the system became more efficient and where can you post a letter? At the post office, post box and most likely either or was situated at your regular shopping centre…
Pick up Chris’s book and give it a read (just like his first book the long tail) you won’t regret it.