October 15, 2012

Stephen Windwalker on Gadgetry

From here:
I suspect that many of you reading this share a love of new gadgets, especially when they help you to read in a better way. So you might share my surprise in hearing that gadget lover Stephen Windwalker made a convincing case to me this week that—gasp—it’s not really about the gadgets any more.

“When you look at all these devices that are out, the air is kind of coming out of the balloon in terms of the competition between devices,” he told me after putting the Fitbit away.

He praised the iPad 3, the iPhone, the new Kindle Fire HDs, the Kindle Paperwhite, and even the new Nook tablets, which look very sharp as hardware.

“But,” he said, “the idea that people are any longer at the point where when a new device comes out they’re going to throw the old one away and grab the new one—I’m just not convinced of that any more.”

Steve emphasized the importance of focusing on what people actually do on these devices, “rather than some proposition that 11 left-handed redheads might use.”

Within a range of, say, five percent in terms of functionality for what people actually do on devices, customer motivation is not centered on hardware features, he said.

“What’s really important,” Steve said, “is the delivery of content.”

He offered a good analogy in suggesting that you don’t decide where to buy a washer/dryer by how nice and modern the store looks. What matters is the value proposition, price, and how good the washer/dryer is.

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