Social Software, Feature or Product?October 24, 2011 No Comments
We have this debate running about social software and whether it’s, for the most part anyway, a set of features that should be embedded in other products / platforms, or long term stand-a-lone products. The evolution of new applications can take a few different paths but there seems to be a pattern of sorts. It goes like this, some one sees a business need (or opportunity to create awareness of a need) and builds some software to address that need.
Others see the need and either 1. copy the feature set as their own product, 2. create a competing but different product or 3. extend an existing product to meet the business need. All of these can exist simultaneously but if the product in #3 has a strong market following already it often spells the death of #1 and #2 (death by acquisition, or by changing direction, or by going out of business).Once the product exists there are a few ways that the story plays out:
- The product has unique value and develops a rich feature set that defines the new market – survives as a stand-a-lone product and market
- The product has value but is not unique enough to survive on its own, thus it becomes a feature of some other product.
- The product and feature set are unique and the foundation for a new approach to solving some business problems, becoming a next generation platform (and probably pulls in a few other features / products as well)