By Rod Bauer | Friday, January 30, 2009 at 9:24 am
I’m an Early Adopter. I like to be among the first to try out new products and services. If you were looking for me on the Rogers Technology Adoption Lifecycle—the bell-shaped curve that’s a favorite of product managers—you’d find me on left side of the curve, just after the truly courageous Innovators but before the onset of the rabble of the Early Majority. (Image below from Wikipedia.)
Being an early adopter means that sometimes I’ve been left in the lurch when a product or service I adopted early failed or was pulled inexplicably from the market. Were you also a user of Pownce, Yahoo Photos, or Google Notebook? Everything has a natural lifecycle, of course, and I have to expect that some of the products I (perhaps too eagerly) embraced will not survive. Since I’m an early adopter, I’m likely to see more products and services fail than other people, who are a bit more conservative and are located farther to the right on the Rogers curve, maybe in Late Majority or even Laggards.
Recently, however, we’ve seen some products seemingly abandoned by their creators. These vendors have just stopped talking to their customers. As you might guess, this is a bad sign. I compare this to a relationship. Early on, your boyfriend or girlfriend tells you everything about themselves—what they like to eat, their favorite songs, their dreams and the minutiae of their daily lives. Later, if things aren’t working out, you’re lucky to hear if they decide not to show up for a date.
I eagerly purchased the Dash Express last year, an innovative device and service that brought two-way Internet connectivity with live traffic reporting to mobile GPS. Recently however, Dash announced it was discontinuing sales of the Dash Express device to concentrate on licensing their application and service to unnamed device manufacturers. The last post on their blog is dated November 3, 2008. There’s been a flurry of comments asking for more clarification, but Dash has kept mostly mum. I hope for the best but am expecting that soon I will have to select another GPS for my car.
Dash, are you stuck in traffic somewhere?
I use GrandCentral for my business phone number. Their service was extremely promising: a VoIP solution that gave you a number of great services and one phone number in the area code of your choice that could be forwarded almost anywhere. When Google bought them, I thought they would be around for a while. But their last communication on their Web site is dated April 22 of last year saying they are “working hard every day on the next great version of GrandCentral and a ton of cool new features.” Then, nothing.
GrandCentral, you never call.
I haven’t heard from Dash or GrandCentral that they’re pulling the plug, but I’m bracing myself for the news. If good products like Pownce, I Want Sandy, Stikkit, Yahoo! Photos, Google Notebook, and Jaiku can be cut, how do I know what will be next? GrandCentral promised me a phone number “for life.” Truth is, I never really believed that. I still have the checkbook from a defunct California bank that promised me “free checking for life.” They neglected to say that they meant their life.
These are tough economic times and I have to expect that even my favorite vendors will be cutting back on less-than-successful products and services. I understand. I just wish that you would talk to me sometimes, just to tell me what’s going on with you and that you’re still OK. I’ll just sit here by my computer or phone, waiting for your tweet or call or e-mail or SMS telling me we can be friends, even if, you know, we’re not actually together anymore. If you called, you’d probably say that it’s about you, not me. That’s OK. I’ll understand, really I will.