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Don’t Be a Follower

iPhone Home ScreenAfter reading some of the tech coverage of the Consumer Electronics Show happening in Las Vegas this week, one thing stood out… following is more than a trend in social media. It’s the norm for big tech companies. The reviews of Windows 8, coming sometime soon to a PC near you, has a screen of tiles that you scroll through, “similar to what you find on a smartphone or tablet.” And what launched the initial touchscreen/swiping through icons for navigation trend? An Apple product, the iPhone.

The Tulsa World’s own Robert Evatt interviewed¬†Tara Dunion, senior director of communications of the Consumer Electronics Association, the organizing body of CES, and she told him one of the big trends for product announcements and launches at CES this year is new ultrabooks. Evatt’s article mentioned that tech experts have¬†characterized ultrabooks as similar to the MacBook Air — a product that is as powerful as a traditional laptop yet ultra thin and light.

Full disclosure: I own an iPhone, two iMacs and a MacBookPro. I am definitely an Apple fan. But this post isn’t about praising Apple. Not really. I just wonder where the other innovators are? It’s not enough to have the best iteration of the thing people already know they want… because you’re always going to be spending time and resources on incremental improvements to a known entity and directly competing with every other company out there trying to do the same thing.

Whatever field you’re in… don’t be just a follower. Don’t be the ones out there touting the latest “improvement” to someone else’s product or idea. Spend your time and R&D resources to develop what people need, even if they don’t know they want it yet. Find the problems. Find the pinch points. Figure out a fundamentally better way. Once the product or idea or service begins to take shape, marketing and PR are the tools to help your potential audience see what’s possible, not just what’s passable.

 


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One Response to “Don’t Be a Follower”

  1. Anna January 13, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

    Mandy, you are SO RIGHT! I’m not an artist or designer or tech producer, but I try to keep myself thinking originally. I do a couple of things to make myself do that. I assume people are smart. When we try to make things too easy or too convenient or too simple, because we think people are stupid or too busy (sometimes the one mirrors the other), we end up with a lesser result. I also like to challenge assumptions. Or maybe I’m just belligerant and ornery… Of course the hardest assumptions to challenge are your own because they’re harder to see. For that and other original thoughts still full of wonder I hang out with kids.

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