A good idea does not always translate into good technology. Good technology does not always translate into a successful product. Why is that?
Two factors significantly impact product success: 1. Timing 2. Go-to-market approach.
Timing introduces systemic risk — it affects all entities in a similar manner. Timing refers to the state of things at a given time: What is popular? How open are people to a new product? What is the political state of the world? These are questions based on when in the world we are.
Fads — What is popular?
Interest in blockchain technology saw a significant spike between 2016–2018. This was heavily driven by the ICO craze and the aggressive rise in prices of digital assets. Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies were actively discussed on mainstream media channels, and owning digital assets became much more common. Market fundamentals and real-world utility held much lower interest than buying the next “hot coin.”
This type of mania where aggressive buying is induced by fear-of-missing-out has been seen multiple times over the course of history. Tulip Mania during the Dutch Golden Age saw the prices of tulip bulbs skyrocket, where high quality bulbs could range anywhere from $50 000 to $150 000 in today’s prices.
Openness to New Technology
In Charles Duhigg’s “The Power of Habit,” he discusses the inherent issue human beings have with change. The now smash-hit “Hey Ya!” by Outkast actually suffered initially because it was too drastically different from what people were listening to at the time. In response, radio stations would sandwich it between popular songs during that time, easing the transition for listeners.
Similarly, technology needs to be easy to consume. Large learning curves and aggressive changes in the way things are done will generally deter people from appropriating new technology. The Sega Genesis performed poorly for all intents and purposes, but is today herald as one of the greatest systems ever created, viewed as forward thinking and ahead of its time.
Nick Szabo, a renowned cryptographer and computer scientist, proposed Bit gold in 2005 — a solution for the financial system that combined elements of cryptography and mining to achieve decentralization. Why was Bitcoin, that was released 3 years later, so much more successful?
What is the Political State of the World?
The state of world events has a huge impact on product success. Recessions trigger increased interest in stores of value such as gold and silver. The Bitcoin Whitepaper was released shortly after the 2008 financial crisis, and gained significant traction as trust in governments, corporations and other centralized points of control diminished.
How a product is brought to market largely impacts how audiences receive it, and ultimately, whether it is successful. Above, we discussed issues that arose because of timing, things that companies have little to no influence over. However, an effective go-to-market strategy can help navigate these obstacles.
Enterprise Go-To-Market Strategy
An enterprise go-to-market strategy has been used to help drive use of the DigitalBits blockchain and in seeking to close the gap between blockchain technology and mainstream adoption. Pursuing an enterprise with a large base of consumers takes advantage of existing communities and infrastructure — the community and engagement built around a product is just as important, if not more important than the product itself.
- Instagram is not popular because it allows you to post photos — but because it allows millions of other people to interact with your content and vice-versa.
- Facebook Messenger allows you to easily communicate with people — it can be argued that Blackberry’s BBM is superior messaging technology, but users are drawn to Facebook Messenger because of ease-of-use and a large active community, despite issues of privacy and data-breaches.
Blockchain holds many benefits over traditional systems — it removes the threat of a single point of failure, allows for borderless and frictionless movement of value, is an entry point for individuals locked out of traditional systems, etc. Given these benefits, the question remains: why is blockchain technology not more widely utilized?
Simply put — a lack of adoption furthers a lack of adoption. Cryptocurrencies are accepted at less locations than fiat, meaning that $5000 in USD currently holds more utility than $5000 in Bitcoin. Those who are truly sold on the benefits of blockchain may migrate over, interacting with others who have taken the plunge and waiting for a wider audience to follow. However, these benefits do not draw mass appeal. Consumers wishing to spend using cryptocurrency will find that they have much less options than with fiat. Merchants may invest in hardware to allow for crypto transactions that receive significantly less traffic than their existing payment solution.
Just like in highschool, it’s always hard to be the first kid on the dancefloor, but as more join everyone gets comfortable and all of a sudden you have a party. It’s a slow gruelling process, but what if there was a way to get everyone dancing at once?
Moving Millions On-Chain
A major deterrent to blockchain technology is the switching cost. Centralized alternatives are readily available and currently perform better than most blockchain technologies. But more importantly, they have large, active communities around them — they have people at their party!
A full suite of API’s and SDK’s have been developed to facilitate enterprise-grade solutions — allowing third party developers to easily deploy applications on the blockchain. DigitalBits has also designed grant programs to further the development of specific tool-kits relevant to enterprise requirements.
DigitalBits has successfully attracted enterprise adopters via its Early Access Program (EAP). This program builds with the customer in mind, and generates valuable feedback in regards to how blockchain can better address enterprise needs. This approach allowed for a more holistic integration of technology, rather than a hard-sell. DigitalBits has worked with a number of companies through its EAP, and feedback from initial early access clients pointed towards the development of branded cryptocurrencies.
Bringing DigitalBits to the World
Building great technology is half the battle — bringing it to the world is the other. Today, people barely have the time to think, and so it is our responsibility as innovators to make technology easy to consume. Blockchain holds vast potential, but suffers from apprehension to change. By attracting enterprises, the DigitalBits blockchain has the potential to see adoption facilitated via a top-down approach, holistically integrating with existing infrastructure, all the while maintaining valuable networks and communities.
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