(My blogging is likely to be fairly light this weekend as my main computer crashed and I’m forced to limp along with a secondary one for a bit.)
I just finished reading The Change Function by Pip Coburn. This one caught my eye when it came out earlier this summer and jumped up on the Amazon bestseller list. I was particularly interested in whether it really delivered on the promise of its subtitle: Why Some Technologies Take Off and Others Crash and Burn.
Did it? Sort of. The book is based on the premise that a new technology will only succeed if it addresses a user crisis and if its perceived pain of adoption is low. Makes sense, to the point of being fairly obvious. In fact, this is truly one of those books that really doesn’t require 200 pages to explain – it’s a great candidate for getAbstract.
A couple of the more interesting tidbits/observations I came across in this book:
…while technologies may seem disruptive, they are much more likely to be adopted if they offer incremental adjustments to new users and not complete deviations from life as we know it.
The adoption of flat panel screens by retailers around the planet establishes “cool” in a similar way to what other technologies achieve with celebrity placement.
Coburn also talks about how Salesforce.com uses a software development and release model that more companies should follow. He notes how their “Learn-->Fail-->Relearn” approach allows for faster, iterative releases built around customer feedback. On the surface, it would seem that Microsoft couldn’t follow this sort of model because their applications reside on your computer and aren’t dynamic, malleable web-based applications. But why couldn’t Microsoft do the same? After all, they’re taking a lot of heat from shareholders and industry experts on the length of time (5 years) since their last major O.S. release.
How could Microsoft follow this model? What about the Automatic Update process they
use to patch and update Windows XP, for example. Yes, I know those downloads today are
limited to bug fixes and other critical patches, but there’s no reason they
couldn’t also include new functionality from time to time. Why couldn’t they have fed some of the
updates that will appear in
As you can tell, this book caused me to think a bit…but only a bit.