Technology .. Because We Can? What About the Customer?

I listened to a live web broadcast of Fox Strategy Room originating from from CES2010 today. At one point, the panelist were discussing the new Sony Dash.  This is an interesting device. I am not going to list all of the specifications here. You can read more here and here.  Generally speaking, the DASH is a 'personal internet viewer'.  They suggest that it can serve as an alarm clock, you can listen to streaming audio, and even watch videos. It sports a 7" touch screen.  A cool little device that cost about $200. 

During the discussion, one of the panelist made a disturbing comment when he said, "What do you do with it".  At that point, all of the panelist seem to agree, "what exactly do you do with this device". It is certainly an expensive alarm clock if that is the only reason for purchasing one.  Frankly, I can't see myself using it for browsing the web at home, and certainly not in the bedroom. What about other locations? Well, apparently the device requires 'wall power', so it's not really mobile. Perhaps there is a use for streaming video in the kitchen. Call me slow; I don't get it.

Far to often companies large and small overlook the customers. Yes, we all like to sell to customers, but do we listen to them? Sometimes we just do not take the time (i.e., make the investment) to ask the right questions or observe customer in action. Perhaps it is hubris; maybe laziness. Let's call it occasional myopia. I am not suggesting this is what happened with the Dash. Heck, I hope it is successful.

What I am suggesting is that developers, marketers and those involved in product (and service) development invest in understanding the customer. Understand how they 'do it' today and where the value is for the customer. I do not suggest adding technology just because you can.

What do you think?


Photo Credit: Sony