Last week’s WWDC conference in San Francisco got me thinking about what makes companies successful.
Apple released a ton of features that are going to revolutionize mobile communication.
They released the ability to hold a button, talk, and then send that voice clip to someone you’re texting.
That feature also works for video.
They are unifying phone calls and the computer.
Etc. The list was extensive.
Problem is—many of those features were already present in other products. WhatsApp, SnapChat, Vine, and Voxer all come to mind.
One question in many VC pitch meetings is,
And I guess that’s my point. For any company that is thriving simply by having a feature that the big companies don’t have, they should be counting their paychecks and planning to go under.
Tech tends towards consolidation. Features get copied. Everyone is going to have every feature.
So the question stops being, “Do you have the feature?”, and starts becoming, “How much better do you implement that feature, and how elegantly does your platform integrate it?”
And that’s where design comes in.
Apple is going to crush its competition not because they implemented audio in texts. They’re going to crush them because they’re integrating it right into the native app, and their implementation is phenomenally elegant.
Companies that come up with a new feature should see it as bought time. A stopwatch starts, and they have X number of weeks or months before that feature gets eliminated as an advantage. And after that point they better have it implemented better, or have a better overall platform, so that they can stay competitive.
Spotify is a superb example. And so is Pandora. They offer quality and features that Google Play and iTunes don’t yet offer—so they survive and thrive even know the gorilla is in the room.
Short-term it’s about the feature (because it’s new), but long-term it’s about the quality of the experience.