RIM announced a $485 Million write-off for the mistakes they made with the Playbook. This was a half a billion dollar mistake. Our data showed they never really recovered, even after extensive firmware updates and price drops. The only dip we see in the rest of the tablet market was the outrage over HP dropping the Touchpad.
Only the launch of the Vizio and Toshiba Thrive knocked the Playbook from last place amongst the major Tablet OEM’s.
The Playbook went from conception to launch in 9 months. It didn’t even launch with an email client. Wait, Blackberry, known for their awesome email, the prima
ry reason people buy from RIM is for their push email and their tablet can’t even connect to their email service? This was a major disconnect for early users. Apple has proven time and again that you can launch without major features working as long as you pick the right major features. So the Playbook launched with the ability to run Android apps and games but you couldn’t check your email. (Our Apologies, Android support came later. Thanks to Jon Robinson (@jr4941) for catching this!) (actually we were right, it was released with the ability to support Android Apps through an app player) To paraphrase the knight guarding the holy grail in The Last Crusade, RIM “chose poorly.”
Companies have been using Argus Insights to pick the right aspects of the experience to focus on, to understand what consumers are demanding and what is disappointing them. Our experience metrics track to sales volume so you know our results reflect what is driving consumer purchase behavior.
Our hearts go out to RIM. Further proof that you can’t get faster, better, and cheaper all at the same time. Great innovation takes time. Give your users the gift of time and attention and they’ll repay it tenfold.
I got a ‘Dear John’ letter from Netflix today. Most people would find that annoying, but my name is John so I get them all the time!
It is clear that for many of our members two websites would make things more difficult, so we are going to keep Netflix as one place to go for streaming and DVDs.
This means no change: one website, one account, one password…in other words, no Qwikster.
While the July price change was necessary, we are now done with price changes.
We’re constantly improving our streaming selection. We’ve recently added hundreds of movies from Paramount, Sony, Universal, Fox, Warner Bros., Lionsgate, MGM and Miramax. Plus, in the last couple of weeks alone, we’ve added over 3,500 TV episodes from ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, USA, E!, Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, ABC Family, Discovery Channel, TLC, SyFy, A&E, History, and PBS.
We value you as a member, and we are committed to making Netflix the best place to get your movies & TV shows.
The Netflix Team
Netflix realized after making a colossal mistake of fragmenting their normally beloved user experience for the sake of potential spin-off later, that the hearts and minds of their customers were worth keeping. If you look at the note though, it is a form of Dear John letter. There is no remorse, not apology, and it exudes annoyance that these targets of economic rent extraction activity (their customers) would dare question their strategy. “We’ve listened, we’ll stop b
ut we are not changing the prices, so there, pffffttt.” This has been the year of User Experience snafus. Netflix and HP, between the two of them, have generated enough material to keep Harvard Business School case writers busy for years!
What’s the lesson here? Listen to your customers (but not too closely according to Clayton Christensen) and treat them with respect or at least amusement. If Steve Jobs was able to address customer concerns directly, occasionally apologize, and even shift corporate strategy in the face of blinding growth compared to the competition, what makes any other company feel they can successfully ignore what the market? By market I mean the people actually providing the capital to run the enterprise, not the market where fortunes are made on innuendo and rumor. We would not have a vibrant iPhone App market if Apple had not listent to the demands of its developer network to open the gates to the garden for all to enjoy. When new iPhone users found out they paid full price for a phone that dropped in price 24 hours later, Apple listened to demands, apologized, and gave customers store credit to recognize their loyalty (and wounds) as early adopters.
It comes back to what we all learned in Kindergarten, listen to others, respect each other, say you’re sorry, and if you cannot get it right, spend some time in the Naughty Spot. We will see if the market continues to make Netflix stand in the Naughty Spot. This letter is just the latest move that extends the duration of their time out.
Argus Insights would not exist if not for Steve Jobs, period.
He made user experience the focal point of our lives and brought the speeds and feeds of nerdom into the hands of every child, woman and man on the planet willing and able to. When I was finishing up my PhD research on connecting good design to good business Apple was one of the inspirations for my research. Imagine my surprise at my graduation from Stanford in 2005 when I found out that Steve Jobs was our commencement speaker. His speech is the most listened too bit of audio on my iPod. Thank you Steve.
When I made the choice to move into industry, I was lucky enough to land at one of Apple’s suppliers, Synaptics, the creator of the capacitive scroll wheel that defined the iPod experience for so long. As the fortunes of Apple rose, so did those of Synaptics so that when I made the decision to leave SYNA my options provided the initial seed capital to chase my own entrepreneurial dreams. Thank you Steve.
The catalyst for starting Argus Insights came from trying to help companies
like Nokia and Samsung compete against Apple. The data and information these big firms were using to guide their decisions lead to countless, now infamous, dead-ends. Argus was founded to help companies measure what matters, the user experience, so they could be less like Bill and more like Steve. Without the genius of his leadership and vision, we wouldn’t have our purpose or market to chase at Argus Insights. Thank you Steve.
His final words that June in 2005 were “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” They have stayed with me ever since. His hunger for perfection combined with his foolishness to attempt the impossible has give the world gifts we will never understand the full value of. To me his biggest lesson and legacy is that through hard work, patience, and conviction, the American dream is attainable without our lifetimes even though his was cut short too soon.
Our heart goes out to the family and friends he leaves behind. We promise to honor his legacy by staying hungry and staying foolish all the days of our lives.
You may have heard IDEO founder David Kelley talk about the importance of hiring T-shaped people. These are folks with a depth of expertise in one area, but enough breadth of empathy and skill to work across multiple domains. This organizational design insight is one of the keys to IDEO’s successful creation of multidisciplinary innovation teams that consistently turn out heart-stopping innovation after another. You could make the argument, quite successfully, that it takes teams of T-shaped people to create T-Shaped experiences.
What’s a T-shaped experience? It’s one in which the ecosystem creates a coherent and delightful flow through the arc of the experience for the user, but requires the coordination of several disparate ecosystem partners. The most notable experience of late is the device-content-service ecosystem that Apple has created around the iPhone. Apple has chained several players around the anchor of their device to architect one of the most defensive consumer positions in the market today. What’s interesting is how others are leveraging this same play using their own T-shaped anchor.
Amazon surprised the world when they went into the hardware business and launched the Kindle. Amazon leveraged their T shape with strong content and retail experience to extend into a dedicated and unprecedented reading experience. It’s the opposite tact of Apple, but just as effective in creating a powerful experience that Apple has had to compete with by changing their developer agreements when no other strategies proved successful. Barnes and Noble followed suit when they created the Nook. Both companies realized that people were not consuming less content (books, movies, music), but they were consuming it differently (no more CDs when you have Pandora, no reason to buy and carry 600+ pages of The Deathly Hallows when it can fit with the rest of your in-hand library). Rather than being left behind, Barnes and Noble chose to lead. Borders, unfortunately, realized this too late and didn’t follow their customers out of the store and into their homes fast enough.
But this is old hat! Why name these new experiences as T-shaped? It’s because this strategy is reshaping mobile computing. When Google announced intentions to buy Motorola’s mobile computing assets, much hype was made about the IP gains in defense of Android. Less discussed was how Google is embracing the T-shaped
experience by bringing hardware into their direct control. Google now could integrate vertically and horizontally just as well as Apple or Amazon. It also means that Motorola gave up in competing in a market place where their I-shaped experiences (hardware, hardware, and hardware) were not cutting the mustard with consumers. HP, in the face of difficult competition in a growing population of T-shaped experiences, decided to exit the market entirely rather than explore content parters to grow the right wings on their I. Now there are rumors of Amazon releasing a tablet, which will further extend their reach into the lives of their consumers and grow their wingspan at the same time. Question is, what is the next frontier?
We think it’s bandwidth—mobile broadband. Why? Because our thirst for content on these portable gateways into our connected lives makes access to bandwidth the weakest link in the experience. Witness in the graph below the rise in Delight by iPhone 4 customers when they could actually make a phone call on the Verizon network. AT&T was that awkward friend who came along for the road trip because it was their car. Once Apple proved they were cool enough to hang uptown, they were able to trade up for a friend with a beamer. Now the iPhone 4 is a complete experience. It’s a smartphone that can actually make phone calls!
This means that access to quality broadband service is a critical part of the next evolution of T-shaped experiences. Will we see Amazon buy Sprint to spread their wings further? Will AT&T purchase HP’s ailing assets and make a go of it? What will the dominate hardware manufacturers, like Samsung, LG, or Acer, do in the face of these market changes? Spread their wings or exit stage right? WWBGD? (What would Bill Gates Do?) These are questions to be explored in another post…
The world is moving rapidly to T-shaped experiences, because they are more defensible. Consumers enjoy the high-quality user experiences within these maturing ecosystems, but it brings with it significant disruption to the consumer electronics ecosystem—the impact of which we have yet to fully experience.