BIF and another Maverick panel

A panel discussion with the 3 previous speakers, moderated by Bill Taylor, you had William Herp. Robin Chase and Jack Hughes.

  • BT: What are the surprising barriers>
  • WH: the biggest challenge, getting the biggest customer group, those who only use airlines and do not think there us an alternative. it is getting all the team to realise there is education to be done before we reach the tipping point to get people to consider it,.  the environment of the public air transport helps, but you have to get people to change their minds
  • RC: using the right words.  thinking about zipcar, you forget there is no much wrestling about using the right words, getting users to understand it.   getting the tight messages
  • BT yesterday we talked about the high concept pitch.  Using the short message.  You use the personal public transport system, a car service with wings, open source meets capitalism.  How do you use the language, is that the pitch that you use?  We use Harvard business review crossed with Rolling Stone for Fast company and every one got it
  • JH it’s all about changing an embedded norm, those are ness changes.  so how do you make people on an individual basis implement the change.  in each of the cases, to get the right message an words is critical.  if the underlying business model has merit, you pull in people and the words will come.  I do not think that any one thinks these models will not happen.  for us, why do people need to go to a place to write software,
  • BT is that your new mantra?
  • RC: I’m testing.  there is power in the words as the words are well crafted and robust.  they are big concepts in a few words
  • WH: one things we found is that there are different things for diff constituencies,  then you throw in time and how things and people change.  in my experience, trial and error has worked well for us.  we build test models.  Car service with wings work at industry.  private travel at airline prices works for customers, they will change as time goes
  • BT: all of you are passionate, there is a tangible product.  how important is it to think about customers buying into you world view?
  • RC: they buy into a quality service, it saves you money, its faster etc,  evangelism , people love it and will talk about it.  they do not buy into what I say, they have to love the service,.
  • BT: about the early adopters?
  • RC we have 3 value propositions and people chose the one they want
  • BT: you have 125k members, doing coding.   What do they think about the future of work
  • JH: some do some don’t they look for what they get out of it, money, learning, to solve problems, they all have an individual need.    We run a high school competition and we do not make money out of it, it is about getting people interested in science and maths etc
  • BT: in an idea driven business, you get feedback from lots of people, and you tweak  what have been tweaks that have been important
  • WH: you need to articulate your vision and be receptive to the feedback.    So far we have been successful in getting everyone to deliver a vision and match inside and outside.  in the previous company, we started off thinking about helping with customer care and we found at pretty quickly that the bigger opps was marketing to them  it was originally ecare and then changed to edialog.  we changed the company as a result of feedback
  • JH: it is not about changing what you are dong as more about being open to listening.   One story was about the members wanting to change the weekly matches we were doing, lasting about 9-0 mins  it would have cost money, I said no.   I went on holiday and when I came back they had built it.  and it was one of the most successful things we do now, the marathon matches
  • RC: goloco is still new, we had a lot of people signing up, bit only 1% were offering a trip.  we redesigned and there are lighter ways t enter, put your favourite places to go and we can start matching on this.  lighter touch
  • BT: what was one of the lessons from your previous companies
  • JH: innovators are very impatient.  you have to give it time.  Topcoder is still new to many, we have to be patient
  • WH: I agree that that is critically important.  One thing I have gotten better at is articulating an idea, get a team rallied around it and then let it go, trust the people to do things
  • RC: continuous improvement, understand the business model, keep on top of it, understand the dynamics
  • BT: there is an ongoing experimentation.

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