Tag Archives: re-platform

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Habit Forming Platforms Part I

In my previous blog I had talked about Technology Evolution & touched upon how we have seen waves come in and go. I am converting that into a series of posts. First of the many posts related to Habit forming products & platforms. It captures my reflections around customer engagement mostly inspired from my readings of the book by Nir Eyal : HOOKED : How To Build Habit-Forming Products 

Nir Eyal is an Israeli-born American author, lecturer and investor known for his bestselling book, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products.  He teaches and has expertise in areas of psychology, technology & business.

Everybody you meet , there is always a common thread on talks of how to improve customer engagement. I also do realize that we are trying to make sincere efforts to improve it all the time but still keep failing at it ! It is important to retrospect why this is the case and why do we keep losing engagement from our customers , not making the value proposition compelling enough to keep their attention live and fresh !

When I started reading the book , it became very clear to me how forming habits is imperative for the survival of many products. The current pandemic is a living example where the consumption patterns and habits are rapidly shaping to create survivability  , continuity , & pivoting away from the pandemic.

Back in 2001 , when I joined the industry internet was coming out of womb and world was still about rich desktop applications. Some of us would remember Power Builder front-ends on Windows ! People at that time would expect the technology on web to be just like that , comparison point of totally then divergent tool sets ! there was expectation that web should replicate every aspect of experience there by underscoring the other tranformational impact of internet.  It was a struggle on how to manage this transition with scores of teams involved trying to get this right .  the books offers a set of learning on how such situations should be addressed from a platforms stand-point.

  1. Companies need to change behavior by presenting users with an implicit choice between old and new.
  2. Platform services should be enjoyable for the sake of its customers.
  3. Building Platforms that are marginally better than others will never shake the old habits of customers , with broad adoption base.

A classic paper by John Gourville , a professor of marketing at Harvard Business School stipulates that

Many innovations fail because consumers irrationally overvalue old while companies irrationally overvalue the new.

As we build platforms

  • We need to be better by  miles to even stand a chance for customers to get hooked to us.
  • If the platform and products require high degree of behavior change , then they are doomed to fail even if the benefits of using the new product are clear and substantial !
  • We need dramatic improvement to our software design or restatement of problem to break the users out of their old routines. 

Quoting another example from the book is that of the QWERTY keyboard , which was developed in 1870s ! Simply putting this layout prevented users from jamming metal type bars of early machines. Many people have tried to since then reinvent keyboards and relate it to better ergonomics BUT QWERTY still remains a standard. How does it survive ?

For a simple reason that there is very high costs attached to changing the user behavior and challenge the stored value for it within its customers. The whole process of relearning and adopting stands little or very less chance of success!

Business heads , platform architects , designers & developers need to:

  • Engage
  • Gauge
  • Modify

to make important decisions regarding how platform should be developed to trigger engagement for customers to get hooked to it.

We will talk in upcoming blog posts more around how to challenge and change the stored value in customer’s mind in order to increase likelihood of adoption. In the mean time , if you have any feedback or comments , please do share !

 

"Cranes by A-Runway of Haneda Airport" by ykanazawa1999 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Re-platforming – Lows & Highs

Evolution is all about looking forward – Gerard Pique

"Cranes by A-Runway of Haneda Airport" by ykanazawa1999 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

“Cranes by A-Runway of Haneda Airport” by ykanazawa1999 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

When you talk about re-platforming to an online business , it starts to give butterflies to everybody around you! The feeling is an obvious one given that it is not going to be straight forward and will touch everybody in the organization. A re-platforming phase will cause strain on internal resources and the impact to business is also not ruled out, as one starts to touch the very foundation which it uses to conduct it’s business operations.

First reflections always would be to label re-platform as a bad idea but in reality it is a necessity not only to keep the stack fresh and adopt the next wave of tech but also show doors to huge opportunities that might be in front of us.

While many would view global expansion or launching to new marketplaces as an exciting business evolution, re-platforming also needs to be treated as a first class citizen for its successful outcome. Re-platforming is not migration or a parity generator for past but a re-look into where the market is, where the business fits in the current (and future) landscape and reviewing everything from customer experience to technology. For example being on mobile was considered competitive advantage but now it is part of standard behavior. As new age start-ups come into vogue and adopt newest stacks , things that were considered high barrier to tech adoption have become default offering. Continue reading