Trends are interesting. First off spotting them isn’t always easy. I have missed on a couple of them big time. For example there was a time when I thought Powerfile (company and product) was the future. It was a dual drive 200 DVD library you could connect to your network. You could search across all your records and files stored neatly on DVD’s. I missed on that trend as PowerFile went out of business and frankly it should have. The software was buggy and incomplete. But for a moment it was the top of the market.
Like I said there was a time when I thought that was the future. The future sadly took another boat. So I unpacked all those files from DVD’s and spread them over three hard drives (3 copies in total for security) and that was when the Internet backup craze hit. I tried two different backup companies and finally settled on Carbonite. Which in the end has been a great decision.
There have been trends I’ve missed on badly. There have been trends I hit early. Fitbit is a trend that I found about five years ago when they first came on the market. Why? Not for any other reason that I worked to hit 10,000 steps a day. I tried any number of pedometers over the years, none of them as easy, simply or in the end effective as the Fitbit. I hit my goal every week because it reminds me where I am in the process. No competition, simply me trying to improve myself by walking more.
As I said though, there are trends I’ve missed badly on. One of the worst trends I suspect I missed on was the rise of the Pocket PC phones. I invested heavily in the software and frankly hardware to support a phone system that was never stable and in the end not good enough. I have more capabilities with just an iPhone than I ever achieved with my Pocket PC phone. Plus with the iPhone I can add countless capabilities that I never could with the Pocket PC phone. People ask me why I won’t carry a windows phone. I give them the following three reasons:
1. It was a crappy phone
2. There market never caught up to the potential so you couldn’t add the devices you needed to be effective
3. No upgrade path for hardware and software to the new Windows Phone.
Probably over the course of my career my biggest miss. Now I have missed out on features when I trended mid cycle. If you think about hype as a wave, there is the moment after the wave crests that is mid-cycle. Most companies that hit that cycle, are nearly ready to release 2.0. So if you buy not the hype mid-cycle you end up with a device that is good but in the end not good enough. That has hit me quite a few times.
The other side of course is the reality of bleeding edge stuff. I do tend to head to the bleeding edge of devices. I’ve always looked for a new way to solve problems. In so doing I take risks. The reality of being a pioneer is that sometimes you have to create work a rounds with devices. Eventually the work a rounds are incorporated into the device but when you first dive in, not always the case. The advantage of knowing the work around is that when that is fixed you are more effective with the device than people that didn’t learn the work around. The disadvantage is it takes longer to learn the device in the beginning.
This is not a cautionary don’t take risks tale. This is simply a best sense of fairness discussion of some of the choices I have made regarding the gadgets I have and use. I talk about IoT devices and do reviews on my other blog of devices. So in fairness I did wish to point out that I am not perfect. Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns reach out to me all the time and ask for advice on how they can improve their chances of being a Fitbit, not a PowerFile. The answer is simple. Find the right market up front and listen to them as they offer work a rounds. The work a rounds are where you are going to make your product bullet proof!