Product Isn’t Always Enough

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It’s true that in most cases a good product is unique and innovative and self-sufficient enough that the maxim ‘build it and they will come’ stands true, but there are many other instances in which your product’s success can be prevented or limited because of things that are out of your control. Let’s look at an example.
A great example of this phenomenon is the Joost problem. The folks at Joost have managed to create a product that can really be considered revolutionary. It takes several existing concepts and implements them in a way that fully realizes the potential of pre-existing technologies that are implemented elsewhere but not necessarily in a synergistic way. However, and in spite of that, Joost has a problem.
Joost has issues with video quality but the problems aren’t so much on their side, but are a result of a more general concern: American broadband. Broadband available to the average American household isn’t fast enough for Joost to be able to deliver content at a good resolution and fast enough for it to be enjoyable. So as you can see, while the product is great, the absence of good infrastructure to support it makes for a bad experience overall.
And this is definitely not the only example. History is filled with products that, though they were great, were either ahead of their time, or didn’t have enough third-party and partner support to allow them to succeed.

Cameron Olthuis

Cameron Olthuis

Cameron Olthuis

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  • Reazal

    This remind me how ISPs in UK are trying to throttle iPlayer. Joost is revolutionary, but it is still useless in country where the super duper fast broadband is still a luxury. My country is one of them.
    The price of ADSL2 2.0M is almost twice the average basic salary of average Malaysian. This speed is currently the fastest in my country. In the end, most people can only afford 512kbps/256kbps. So sad.

  • I agree. Wonderful features, but a few years ahead of its time.

  • Jonas

    Well, this type of argument and reasoning is typical of course for countries that have slow speed broadband. Seen from your perspective – sure, joost sucks. Seen from the Swedish perspective it’s all jolly good. Then there’s the issue of execution. Is it wrong to launch/make the product available in countries where high quality broadband does fairly exists? I mean, isn’t it that what Internet is all about? Sure it goes slow, and it’s in the start of the product life cycle, but aren’t we really getting annoyed more of the delivery than the product funtions themself in terms of Internet-based products?

  • Meep

    I guess my issue is more home network design. Until the new wireless protocol is affordable I’m forced to run cable all around my apartment to watch when everything else runs just fine on 802.11g (and actually b for most applications). But then I remember being a kid when 56k modems were the hot item and DSL was a world populated only by businesses who could afford thousands for a dedicated line. Perhaps in ten years we’ll be talking about the limitations of Gbps broadband.

  • Relying on technology that is only partly fully available would not be my way of offering it to a global community. At rebtel ( i work for them) we were very conscious of this when we chose to build a service that would work on any mobile phone and would not require web connectivity for its day to day usage.

  • this is so true. a best-selling product must comes in the right place on a right time