San Francisco – November 9th, 2012
VentureBeat’s Christina Farr wrote and excellent article about the Myth called the “Dropbox Effect”, which is the assumption that a well-designed and easy to deploy product, once successful with consumers, and hence employees of enterprises, will prompt CIOs to fork out a large pile of money to integrate it officially as part of their internal IT.
The main issue with this is that it doesn’t work, and that is very well detailed in the article and also by Ben Horowitz in the linked blog post on the same topic.
Design is one thing, and it surely can explain the success of products/services like Dropbox, Box[.net], Instagram, Asana, etc but just as important when creating a new solution is to clearly define the target or targets. This should influence the way the solution is packaged, designed and monetized. And one size fits all is hard to conceive, let alone implement.
Maybe multiple solutions,one for each target is the way to go, if one has enough resources and funding to afford it. Look at Dropbox, they’re insanely popular with consumers, but they are clearly struggling to penetrate the enterprise as an official IT application (as opposed to a renegade app employees use on their own, until IT blocks it – which is something that goes against Dropbox).
The economics work if you design your system with a specific target and don’t move away from it. In this video, Phil Libin from Evernote explains the model they used when they designed the product, and how they kept to it without trying to “pivot” into a new segment or model. Now they’re very profitable, and are enjoying a very good reputation with a great product, perfectly designed for its market.
Again, great design is obviously very attractive, especially if you’re going after the consumer market, but it might not be what the enterprise users are going to look after. CIOs will look for other features (reporting, security, ACLs, provisioning integration..). If a product has both, then that’s the holy grail.
Scality is sponsoring VentureBeat’s CloudBeat on November 28-29, in Redwood City, CA, and this is the kind of topics that will be addressed during the keynotes, and on the floor.
See you there.