Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Two points of differentiation

Robert X. Cringely has been writing on technology for many years and his blog is often very good on what is happening tomorrow in technology and computers.

Today his latest post is about Microsoft Windows 7 phones.

I want to focus on his comment that, "the rule of thumb is you need two or more clearly superior points of differentiation in order to gain share from an underdog position in a technology market."

It seems natural that a new product in an existing market will have some cool - incredible - wow! - feature that clearly differentiates it from the other products. But is that enough? His rule of thumb says you need a second item. Why?

The first item grabs your attention - "you mean the Ultramizer 1.0 can do Xbar1?" But then you ask, "what else does it do?" If the answer is "nothing", then there is insufficient momentum to get them to change (with all the constituent difficulties in change).

The entrepreneur devotes so much of her time to the first most distinctive difference, there is not enough 'else' to make it persuasive. Her competitors can say they will add that one feature in the next release - now what?

So when you come it to discuss your new technology, don't be surprised if I ask, "what else differentiates it from the other products".

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