Propensity to Buy

In marketing, the goal is to create the perception of need.

In advertising, marketing’s shock troops, the goal is to create the propensity to buy.

I just received this advertisement from via email.


Read that ad copy carefully.


Does that ad create the propensity to buy something–anything–from

In marketing, perfection is the baseline. First you deliver perfection, on time. Anything beyond that is icing on the cake.

But first, you deliver perfection.

If you don’t, instead of creating the propensity to buy, you create the propensity to consider the brand incapable, if not incompetent.

Which pretty much sums up my thoughts about right about now.


Pick A Horse

Here’s a quick test for anyone who has sat in their cubicle and dreamed about starting their own business.

Read this short web page about a new technology:

What would you build with that technology? What are your product ideas?

My friend Scot Mortier, an assistant District Attorney suggested, “Interesting…so, applications from making cars safer to bomb-proofing buildings? Then, if one can find a way to allow the slow release of the energy absorbed, a battery-like energy source? Better running shoes if you can coordinate both absorption and release (to match your stride, let’s say)? And what about the applications for roadways? Both longer lasting (because the particles could eliminate freeze thaw expense) and the possibility that it could wind up being an energy source once the trigger to release it is found? Wow! Great possibilities! Medical applications for aging joints?”

And therein lies the challenge for the budding entrepreneur. There is no shortage of ideas out there, especially for game-changing technologies.

But even if your invention or idea is more pedestrian than something that could be as fundamentally revolutionary as AgileNano’s, you still face the same type of challenge: picking one market and pursuing it.

Almost every first time entrepreneur, and even many experienced entrepreneurs, attempts to develop multiple markets and multiple product and service offerings with their new business. Being entrepreneurs, they see nothing but possibilities, and with every possibility a “natural” market for their new idea, their new product or service.

Along the way they will chase dollars, meaning wherever a potential customer indicates they might be interested if only this or that change was made, then the entrepreneur will invest precious resources making this or that change in their product or service for the faint prospect of a sale. The end result of chasing dollars is inevitably failure. A young business has very few resources, and if you expend those resources chasing every possible sales opportunity, regardless of how tangential they are to your business plan and core strategy, you will never generate enough revenue to replenish your resources, much less make a profit.

The analogy is riding horses. If you’ve got a dozen horses that you need to move from your ranch across the prairie to town, you do not jump from one horse to another along the way. Trying to be all things to all people, all things to all potential markets, all things to all potential customers, is the same as trying to jump from one horse to another to another all the way to your goal. That will never work. You’ll inevitably fall off, and that will not be a good day.

Just as in moving horses, when you are starting a business you need to pick a horse and ride it. Pick a single opportunity space, a single market, a single set of characteristics that comprise an ideal customer. Pick that one, single, individual goal and pursue it relentlessly.

Pick a horse and ride it.


The Bandwidth Gap

One of the downsides of the insularity of the American culture and the self-enclosed European culture is its bounding effect on opportunity space thinking.

One example that is easy to illustrate is in technology. People in the post-development societies of western Europe and the U.S. live in a bandwidth rich environment. If they ever venture outside the post-development nations, they tend to travel to centers of commerce, bandwidth oases in the global bandwidth desert.

Due to thier limited world bandwidth view, what these post-development society people miss is that the rest of the world lives in a reality of low- to no-bandwidth.

The bandwidth rich conceive of, develop and implement technology solutions that further enhance and accelerate the bandwidth enabled. Meanwhile, the four to five billion people who live outside the high bandwidth areas are locked out of those solutions and those enhancements to life and development.

While many are aware of the digital divide, they conceive of it as representing those who have and those who do not have computers. In reality, the digital divide is a bandwidth gap between the high-, low- and no-bandwidth people on the planet.

High bandwidth costs real money, low bandwidth costs much less. Who can afford real money? Mostly those in the wealthiest one billion people on the planet. Who can afford low bandwidth? Just about everybody in the next segment lower, the three to four billion next wealthiest people, because they almost all have mobile phones. Who can’t afford any bandwidth? Many to most of the people in the remaining bottom tier.

The next wave of technology winners, those who understand what the bandwidth gap is all about, those who will define the next ubiquitous technology capability on the planet, will leverage the billions in the middle tier who have access to low bandwidth phones. Why? Because those who have low bandwidth phones now are the same billions who will have high bandwidth mobile devices in the future. Technology always climbs up the food chain, not down. Technology dominance always starts at the bottom and consumes the market as it moves up. Build a solution for the bottom now and consume the top later.

In this case, future technology dominance starts with those who have the least available bandwidth, not the most.

That’s a very challenging market to comprehend for those trapped inside the insular, inside-looking-out, high-bandwidth fishbowl.

Meeting the Lumabyte

“In the next 12 months there will be a zettabyte of information on the Internet.” – Dr. James Baty, VP and chief technology officer (CTO) of Sun Microsystems.

A zettabyte is the equivalent of 1 billion terabytes. Just a few years ago, it cost my clients millions of dollars to buy and implement a terabyte of data storage. The disk drives could fill a room. You can now buy a terabyte of data storage for $100 and the single drive is about the size of a typical hard cover book.

How much has the world changed? We have five terabytes of data storage on our overland expedition vehicle.

What’s driving the explosion in online data? In large part, social networking such as MySpace and Facebook.

  • Facebook users have uploaded more than 15 billion photos to date, making it the biggest photo-sharing site on the web.
  • For each uploaded photo, Facebook generates and stores four images of different sizes, which translates into a total of 60 billion images and 1.5 petabytes of storage.
  • Facebook adds 220 million new photos per week or roughly 25 terabytes of additional storage.

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