One famous quote by Steve Jobs alluded to how hard it is to design products by using feedback from focus groups. His point was that people don’t know what they want until you show it to them. These comments were controversial for some people, but the lessons ring true.
What Jobs was referring to had nothing to do with the intelligence of customers, but rather the sense of responsibility that innovative companies have to be visionaries to the evolving customer demands. Most of the time customers are focused on today’s popular ideas, while companies need to be envisioning where the world is going. It’s not the customer’s job to know what they want; the burden falls upon the company to constantly be improving our lives as consumers.
Revolutionary companies now need to find the proper balance between listening to customer feedback of current preferences, and reading their customer’s minds to predict what they will want in the future. This requires a vision looking towards the future, seeing where specific industries are headed, and a supreme knowledge of their customers.
This is one reason why the open source model is so effective. The speed of innovation is unparalleled and can keep up with customers’ changing needs and preferences much more effectively by leveraging the talents of the entire community. Customers are able to provide feedback about their specific use cases, the open source community can take that feedback from various sources, and implement it in a timely manner. The traditional product lifecycle doesn’t allow for innovation in this manner, since it’s such a time intensive process. By the time companies with this traditional product lifecycle can implement customer feedback, the needs of their customers have often changed significantly. Customers in the open source model are able to play a much larger role in providing feedback that leads to new features and a more personalized experience.
Change can sometimes be difficult, we gravitate towards the status quo until it seems safe to take the leap. Often the most life changing advancements are ones we had never thought about needing before. One example of this type of innovation was the iPad. When it was first introduced some people were skeptical of how it would be utilized. Now there have been millions sold and it has become ingrained deeply into society, filling the gap between smartphones and laptops. You can now find them in executive meetings, schools, hospitals, restaurants, and more. Other examples include Google, Facebook, Uber, Airbnb, and Amazon. Modern companies make our lives easier and become so indispensable we couldn’t imagine our lives without them. What did people do before these services came around?
Hortonworks Connected Data Platforms has achieved this for numerous customers. It has helped illuminate the big data blind spots that can then be used for actionable intelligence. The mission is to turn the “never before possible” into “how did we ever live without it?” Hortonworks customers are able to access and leverage data like never before, and to revolutionize their businesses. It’s not just about decreased costs and increased efficiency, but also a broader view of customers and customer preferences.
We can help shape the narrative and light the way for our customers, showing them what they need before they’re even aware of it. A company who does this successfully has the tools to become an industry leader. With clearer insight gained from Big Data, businesses can get a clearer look at the whole picture to be able to better serve their customers. How did we ever live without it?