2 min read

Product for the future

My favorite session at proto.in 5th edition was by Atul Chitnis who reinforced the basics of business. He made one remark which seems obvious but something that we don’t put in practice:

“Today is history. Build for the future so that your product can be ready just in time.”

As opposed to only thinking of right now, taking a year to build it and realize it is no longer needed, or more likely, it is no longer the way things are done.

This statement immediately came to my mind when I was reading the announcement of ‘Triple Play’ by Airtel:

Rs. 999 per month which gives 135 channels including 256 kbps broadband speed with unlimited download and a landline connection.

First, you can imagine internet access completely on the television in homes, say in a year or so.

Second, if you combine this with their Online Desktop feature(1), and you can imagine how people will be accessing computing on their TV just a year down the lane without ever buying a traditional desktop computer. And best of all, users can easily install/uninstall applications (on rental basis) without hassles/worries/dangers of “ruining your computer” since Airtel will be hosting the computing facility.

The question is: If you are a company (whether big or small) in the tech space, do your products and services take this into account?

Similarly, we all know that netbooks are the rage now. Atul predicted that these are stop-gap measures until people realize that they can do the same things with slightly higher-end phones.

Again, ask the same question above.

Technology indeed changes so fast and changes our lifestyle along with it.

Other useful points from the talk:

  • It is not the tools you use. It’s how you use them.
  • Those who forget history (i.e. learn from others’ mistakes) are doomed to repeat it.
  • If product is good, price is right, people will buy it.
  • A product is more than just code. A customer wants a solution and a long term relationship with the service provider.
  • Today is history. Build for the future so that your product can be ready in time.
  • Markets can be created.
  • Hint: Assume connectivity. Local storage no longer matters.
  • Biggest products are mobile products now. Simple products, not big things.
  • Advertising doesn’t pay. Unless you’re Yahoo or Google.
  • VC funding is not a viable business model. Unless you’re a VC.

(1) Has this service actually taken off? Who uses it, I wonder.