The Nature of Switching – Implications

In my last post I described a framework to understand how individuals make switching decisions. Using this framework, let’s examine its implications for marketers of technology.

At the most basic level the framework says that to maximize the chances of switching you should maximize Switching Benefits, minimize Switching Costs and make Research and Trial really easy.

Maximize Switching Benefits

If there isn’t a compelling feature or two in your product that will get a large percentage of your target user base to check out your product, it won’t work. When you introduce a product, it is more important to focus on the Switching Benefits than on lowering the Sacrifice. If the Switching Benefits aren’t there, you won’t get enough people into Research & Trial. If the Switching Benefits are there but the Sacrifice is somewhat high, at least you’ll get the trials and perhaps some early adopters to switch. You might also get some parallel runs, where users use both products for a while. But most importantly, you will get feedback.


The Nature of Switching

Last week I switched from Windows to Mac. I have used a Windows computer all my working life and the switch was something I agonized over for more than six months. I wanted the performance, stability and design coolth of the Mac, but I worried that the switch would require me to learn a totally new OS. It would cause me frustration, loss of productivity and just plain wouldn’t work for somethings like demoing our Excel product which is not supported on the Mac. What eventually tipped me over was that a couple of weeks back Microsoft pushed an update down and Windows kept insisting that I restart the machine. I decided to restart 15 minutes before a demo to a prospect to avoid the reminders from interrupting the demo. Twenty minutes and a couple of memory reference errors later, it still hadn’t booted up. I had to reschedule the demo.

But this post isn’t really about Windows vs Mac.


New Look for the Blog

As you will notice, 6AMP has a new look. The old theme worked well, but I was tiring of it. The new WordPress theme is called Statement and is from Blogoh!Blog that I was happy to learn is now run by Jai Nischal Verma of Delhi.

The theme is clean and functional but easy on the eye. Migrating to the new theme required some work, but no major challenges. Had to figure out how to edit a psd file without having to buy Photoshop. GIMP did the trick.

I think I have everything working. Let me know if you find anything broken.

Farewell Facebook

facebook del

I finally did it. I deleted my Facebook account. New York Times had an article about this [link]. A little bit of effort and some waiting and I got it done. I am now permanently out of the house of Facebook.


Gridstone and the Top-Down Approach to the Semantic Web

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What does Gridstone Research do? If an Equity Analyst asks this question, the answer we give is what our home page says,

Using cutting-edge technology, Gridstone assembles, analyzes and structures unstructured company information into financial data, guidance, operational data and structured text. Information that could take hours to assemble is available at your fingertips, at our website or directly in Excel.

This describes the end-user benefit. But for those who are interested in such matters, it still doesn’t answer the question of what we actually do.


Gridstone Excel Add-in

We just released a very important product – an Excel Add-in that allows Analysts to pull in our rich data directly into their spreadsheets. Excel is very central to the work flow of our users. We think that this is probably the easiest-to-use Excel Add-in in the Financial Information business.

I whipped up a Slidecast about it. Even if you are not connected to the Financial world, take a look at it. I think it is effective and I spent about a day on it and that too because I tried many different approaches until I hit my stride. Feedback is welcome. If you’re interested in the tools I used, leave a comment.

Company of One

The English word company means “A group of persons”. I would surmise then that the business entity “company” got its name because it comprised of a group of persons engaged in a common business purpose.

An individual can start and run a company all by herself. There is nothing new about that. What is however changing is just how much that company can achieve with a small team. A few individuals can create a company with millions of dollars in revenues and tens of millions of dollars of value.


Joost – Internet TV for Real

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I got an invite for Joost and tried it out yesterday. It rocked.

Joost, for those who haven’t heard about it yet, is basically internet TV. Full screen, high(er) quality, mainstream TV content streamed to your computer over broad band. The guys behind it are Janus Friis and Niklas Zennström, the same duo that did Kazaa and Skype. With their backgrounds you have to take Joost seriously.

And it doesn’t disappoint. Yesterday, I downloaded the beta version of the client software and settled down to try it out. My verdict – this was vastly superior to any other video on the internet and ‘acceptable’ when compared to regular TV. Every program started with a few seconds of rickety video but once the buffering kicked-in, it was smooth sailing from there on.


Don’t Believe Everything You Read

AAPL, small
On May 16, Engadget, a blog on consumer electronics, posted breaking news that Apple’s iPhone and Leopard OS were going to be delayed. This was based upon an internal Apple email that they had been able to lay their hands on.Within a few minutes, AAPL had lost 3% off its market cap. Techcrunch has a blow by blow account here. Paul Kedrosky has another interesting take on the episode here.

My interest in this episode is in connecting it with other recent developments in text analysis based algorithmic trading to see what this might augur for the future.