Newsletter – Summer 2013
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The Power of Customer Misbehavior
Our third book, The Power of Customer Misbehavior, has entered the production phase with our publisher, Palgrave Macmillan. This book presents some newly discovered drivers of viral growth – product misuse and self-identity. Below is one of the many stories in the book. In this one we relate a story from the early days at YouTube in which they were able to leverage customer misbehavior to guide their ultimately very successful product development.
As Maryrose Dunton, the Director of Product Development and one of the first product managers at YouTube recalls, “YouTube was initially a technology looking for a business problem to solve.” The founders experimented with various practical implementations of their technology, which allowed one to upload and share videos in a “flash” player. They thought the technology and the site might be used to showcase real estate for sale or used as a dating site to give personal testimonials. “But instead,” said Maryrose, “we found that people were uploading videos of their cats and of them performing skateboarding tricks. We thought ‘Really? That’s how they want to use it?’ We took their lead and came up with the moniker ‘Broadcast Yourself’ – something that still exists today.”
This example is a great one that displays not only how customers define their identity online and come up with innovative ways to use and even misuse a product, but also how a company can enable that misuse for its own benefit. As Maryrose’s incredulous question shows (e.g. “Really? That’s how they want to use it?”), the team was not expecting people to post funny animal tricks and silly videos of themselves online. They could very well have shut down such usage right then. But instead, the team enabled the usage and even created a marketing tagline based on it.
We’re very excited to have Mike Paylor, a new Associate Partner, join us at AKF. We’ve known and worked with Mike for almost 15 years and have been continually impressed with his knowledge of technology, management, and building sustainable organizations. Over the last 9 years Mike has been integral to the massive growth of PayPal, most recently as Director of Risk Infrastructure Technology. In that role Mike managed more than 60 software engineers worldwide building industry leading Risk & Data Analytics platforms. Mike earned a B.S. in Management Information Systems from The Pennsylvania State University. If you’d like to contact Mike directly his email is:firstname.lastname@example.org
We have partnered and helped several clients around the globe scale their product architecture, processes, and organizations. Many times we see clients who are handcuffed from old project management methods that slow their TTM or they haven’t been able to realize the full benefits from Agile. We are proud to offer a new service, Agile Training with a focus on scaling the way AKF teaches companies. We will partner with you to ultimately help improve your TTM and Quality making your products and company more competitive in the marketplace. We will do this by providing you with the necessary training, consulting, and coaching to help transition your business and engineering teams to an Agile framework while complementing it with AKF Scaling best practices. The goal is to teach the tools, share the knowledge, and encourage the behavior necessary to apply in your business’s context. If this training would be beneficial to your team, reach out to us email@example.com.