How To Fire Up Your New Product Launch

Posted on October 26, 2009. Filed under: Business Strategy, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

match on fire (bigstockphoto)How do you ensure a product still in development catches fire come launch-time?

Keep things largely under wraps, while simultaneously spilling a bunch of the beans.

A neat trick that takes finesse to pull off; one recent example is the rollout of Google Wave.

Limiting who gets to test drive

Not quite ready for prime time, there’s already gobs of chatter about the Wave, which is in limited preview. You must be asked to give it a test drive.

Invitees include developers and influentials — tech writers and bloggers being a big block here — who are in turn allowed to ask 20 additional individuals to join the fold.

Google’s tactic of limiting who gets a preliminary trial ensures invitees are quick to spread the word. To clue people in on the Wave, of course, but also, it’s an opportunity to infer, without really saying so, “I’m one of the chosen people.”  It’s a status symbol.

Anyone can peek under the hood

You can get a gander of the product by visiting the About Google Wave web site.

Google Wave logoThe site includes a long (80 minute) video presentation, originally given to developers, about this new collaborative communications platform that appears to be a souped-up combination of email, chat, photo sharing and other social media tools, with considerable real-time capability.

FYI, you don’t need to watch the video all the way through. The first part has demos and explanations in plain English. The rest is for developers who may want to build apps and other tools to work with the Wave.

If you’re not into tech talk stop after the first segment: You’ll still see what the ruckus is about.

Buzz builds

Meanwhile, buzz about Google Wave continues to build.

Mashable and TechCrunch have guides to the product. Lots of journalists and bloggers, including Mr. Web 2.0 himself, Tim O’Reilly, are getting the word out.

Computerworld claims the Wave is indeed innovative, but wonders if it’s truly useful in the real world.

As yet another tantalizer, you can request an invitation to Google Wave.

Follow the leader

Few businesses have a footprint as big a Google, where this kind of rollout has such immense impact.

No matter, you can still follow the leader. Here are the basic steps.

  • Unveil your upcoming product to select influentials. This group includes members of the media (both traditional and social media), prominent existing and/or potential customers, people who will eventually market your product, and others who communicate to audiences that can derive benefit from your product.
  • Inform invitees of their exclusive status.
  • Tell the general public you are giving pre-launch test drives to invited individuals (to elevate the status factor even more).
  • Post limited information about your new product, that anyone can view, showing how it works. The “you can look but not touch” approach creates anticipation and desire.
  • Tell invited influentials you are not simply looking for free PR, but want authentic feedback on how they perceive the product.
  • Listen to and absorb the feedback, both positive and negative.
  • Dangle a carrot to the uninvited indicating that you might let them take the product for a spin.
  • Gradually increase the number of invitees.
  • Launch product and watch the sparks fly.

Time will tell if Google Wave is a tsunami (or not).

Until then, the fire lighting up public interest continues to burn.

– Deni Kasrel

Have you heard about Google Wave? Are you one of the chosen few who gets to test the Wave? What do you think about Goggle’s limited preview? Can you see it working for other products? Please offer your thoughts. Comments welcome.

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What’s Wrong With Being Real?

Posted on September 8, 2009. Filed under: Commentary, Trends | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Last week I posted a piece about trends that are getting lots of attention. Which, in case you missed it, are real-time web, crowdsourcing and latent semantic indexing.

Another trend I thought about including is augmented reality.

digital visionA greater reality

If you break it down linguistically, there’s “augmented,” which according to the American Heritage Dictionary means “to make (something already developed or well under way) greater, as in size, extent, or quantity.” And there’s “reality,” defined as “the quality or state of being actual or true.”

Basically you’re making something that’s actual and true even greater.

007 would love it

One consumer-friendly version of this futuristic innovation applies to next-generation electronics, where if you point a device that’s augmented reality-equipped, it instantly processes what’s being viewed and sends graphics and text specific to that scene. Point the gizmo while standing outside a restaurant (for some reason restaurants are a common example to illustrate this advancement) and you get the skinny on the eatery; a view of the interior, menu, reviews and hours of business.

In another iteration, when you walk though a historic site, as you amble around, the apparatus continuously provides a video-version of what happened way back when, superimposed over the real environment.

The military is hot for augmented reality and there’s talk of serious applications for science.

A tracking device, too?

It’s a ways off till all this hits the market. And while clearly an intriguing concept, which I’m admittedly over-simplifying, augmented reality represents yet another means of digitally tracking our movements: One more instance where we’re giving up privacy for the sake of cool technology.

GPS systems are great, however details that get collected and analyzed in order to give us the information we want are also a record of our travels.

We acknowledge that there’s ultimately no privacy on the web. We can clean our cache and crumble our cookies, but the data remains on a server somewhere.

Give to get

Search engines accept our queries and then display ads based on our input. Our seemingly private emails are processed. I was both humored and surprised a few weeks ago after sending a message to a pal whose nickname is Beanie, when beside her reply, my gmail client dished up ads for bean bags and beanie hats.

One common defense for the latter intrusions is that search and gmail are free services. The quid pro quo is that they get to turn us into chunks of data to mine for advertising and other purposes. It’s out in the open. I get it. It still creeps me out.

Keep it real

The promise of augmented reality is exciting. The privacy trade-off gives me the willies. Makes me wonder, what’s wrong with being real?

– Deni Kasrel

Are you concerned about how new technology affects privacy? Your comments welcome.

Related post:

Three Fast Growing Trends You Need To Pay Attention To

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