Two key takeaways from this blog post.
- Product innovation isn’t by far a successful metric. Wider adoption is essential. It means that it has to be an inextricable part of the users’ daily process (like email).
- Positioning (aka Marketing). It is even more important than the product itself!
When we look at how the platform was rolled out, it’s not surprising it ended up a mere blip in the history of SaaS innovation. Lack of product focus, positioning problems and lackluster release plan were only some of its problems.
Nowadays, as more companies are adopting the distributed model, it’s important that we learn from Wave’s mistakes. With the renaissance of real-time collaboration tools in full swing, reflecting on the story of their predecessor can provide valuable lessons for the future.
Collaborative tools are clunky with extremely poor user interfaces (complicated user interfaces). For example, email collaboration tools have proliferated with everyone claiming that they have “re-imagined” email (sounds good, isn’t it?) However, when it comes to paying for it, the user fees are often extortionate. Most users won’t jump on a collaborative platform unless it is offered “free” or part of the enterprise.
Slack, for some reason, managed to break the mould. However, I find it extremely distasteful and useless (despite the integrations and bots) because anything worthwhile in that platform has to be paid for.
Google Wave was an awesome platform (ahead of its time) and Google couldn’t decide how it had to gouge out user data. It died a slow death but I miss it fondly.
Please do read the fascinating blog post. It is worth your time.