Sunday, June 22, 2008

Understanding perceived pain of adoption

Pip Coburn's The Change Function is an interesting book. It talked about why some technologies take off and others fail. It is a reminder for product creators, especially in the technology field, that a product or service will click if the total perceived pain of adoption (TPPA) is less compared to staying where they are today that shall be worthy of making that switch.

From personal experience, this is how TPPA works for me:
  • I will likely not buy an iPod or iTouch in the future as my current iPhone works well for me and can also save the videos / music that I want to listen to.
  • Investing in an iPad is not a consideration at the moment since its price point is almost good enough to invest in a laptop that will allow me to do more for the same price (which I don't need at the moment). 
  • I may not find myself switching to another web host in the future for my club site since the one I am using since 2003 is serving me well.
From a product or service developers' point of view, I am reminded that a product's chance of success is less than 5%. That is true for the DigitalFilipino.com Club where I was able to convert 1-3% of my contact base to actual customers. At first I thought, I must be doing really bad. But after reading this book and having a better grasp on TPPA, I've become much more of a realist. On the downside, this will make me even slower in coming up with new product or service developments.

My challenge in reading the book is its "voice". After reaching halfway, I just shut down and ended up just scanning. Pip sounded like a nag or too defensive or offensive at times that I just decided to stop reading (which is a form of listening in the case of books).



(click on image to enlarge)

However, to its credit, it presented a structure and philosophy that endearing organizations and product creators can embrace like:

  • Re-learning from failures
  • Hiring experts who observe how people are changing
  • Co-designing application with users
  • Having a devil's advocacy process
  • Be quick to make changes as necessary
These are indeed important factors for innovative product or service development.