Tag Archive for 'App'

Don’t be a “Killer App” victim

Do you know the term, “killer app?”

Initially coined in the 1990s, a killer app is computer jargon for an application that significantly enhances the value of a larger, host technology. An innovation would be dubbed with this moniker when it became so compelling that the subsequent high adoption rate might literally kill any product and associated businesses that it replaced.

Although no one called it that, perhaps the classic killer app is the internal combustion engine, delivered in its host technology, the automobile. Those invested in the horse-drawn carriage industry – including the proverbial buggy whip – were asphyxiated by that new technology.

Modern killer apps include the Web browser – delivered over the Internet – which changed how we consume media and painfully shifted the paradigms of traditional media – radio, television, newspapers, etc. And ask the U.S. Postal Service about the impact of that little app called the email client – served by the World Wide Web – like Outlook, Eudora, Thunderbird, etc.

Mobile apps – delivered over WiFi and mobile networks – convert content otherwise consumed with a browser on a computer desktop into handy forms developed for the much smaller and variably shaped screens on hand-held devices. Mobile apps are so sexy that they are progressively wounding the personal computer industry. Did IBM see this coming when they sold their global PC business to China’s Lenovo in 2005? Michael Dell, call your office.

In 1998, I began reporting on my radio program about the emerging alternative to Internet dial-up: broadband, aka, “big pipes.” I told my audience then that when broadband Internet becomes ubiquitous the world will change. With the proliferation of WiFi and mobile networks today, the world has changed. Ask any business in an industry that once depended on humans being tethered to a desk, in an office, inside of a building, downtown.

Today, “killer app” is part of the vernacular as a handy metaphor describing any slayer of an entrenched business model. So here are two questions to ask your team in your next meeting: Are we creative and innovative enough to produce a killer app? Or are we so hidebound that we could become the road-kill of someone else’s killer app?

If you’re not trending toward the former you’re slouching toward the latter.

It’s okay to fall in love with what you do, but don’t fall in love with how you do it.

Click on one of the links below to listen or download more about small business killer apps.

Are you an innovator or a killer app victim? with Jim Blasingame

What killer apps are you developing? with Jim Blasingame

Check out other great SBA content HERE!

Mobile apps are in your small business’ future

Recently, a friend said to me, “Apps are everything.” In this case “app” means application.

Webster says an application is something useful. Today, “app” typically means a computer application designed to convert a complicated digital program into a handy but powerful tool that will make life and work more productive.

The hyperbolic reference my friend made was to mobile applications. If you have one of the mobile “smart phones,” like an Apple iPhone or one that uses Google’s Droid software, you know that mobile apps are diminutive digital power tools you can download to your smart phone – Google has thousands and Apple has tens-of-thousands. These apps put a world of capability, information and connectivity literally in the palm of your hand and at the command of a thumb.

According to Google’s CEO, Eric Schmitt, his company expects to be more successful in the future with mobile platforms – smart phones, iPad, etc., than with PCs. However, nothing Schmitt prophesied can happen without the mobile app. If he’s correct – and I think he is – this means mobile apps will become a bigger part of our lives. But more importantly, they will become a bigger part of our customers’ lives. And that possibility is something on which every small business owner must focus today.

Mobile apps, which are too sexy for your desktop, do two very compelling things: 1) They put power in your hand; and 2) They take the cool computer desktop user experience you enjoy to a higher orbit of cool.

Hockey great, Wayne Gretzky, said the key to his success was the ability to skate where the puck is going instead of where it is. If you want to know where your customers are going with regard to how they will find you, connect with you, prefer you to connect with them and even do business with you, you have to start skating toward mobile apps.

Get started by doing these things today: 1) If you don’t own a smart phone, buy one and start using it so you can see what your customers are falling in love with; 2) Hire your web developer to do these two things in this order: a) make sure your online information presents well on mobile platforms; and b) build a mobile app for your business that customers can download to their smart phones.

Whether you’re Google or Grandma’s Diner, mobile apps may not actually be everything, but they are becoming an increasingly essential way for your small business to stay relevant with customers.

Skate to where customers are going: toward mobile apps.

Recently, I talked about movile apps on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to listen, and be sure to leave your thoughts. Listen Live! Download, Too!

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