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The New Age Of Aspirational Computing

I have been giving this quite a thought. There is a term what marketing folks call "Aspirational Marketing" but how are you going to achieve it with the given product line that you have? Anyways we would be in denial if I say that today the consumer is getting impatient, needs a lot of new stuff, gets bored quickly and you say that it is not happening. Blame it on the consumer, blame it on the well being and prosperity. Blame it on anything you want but one thing is for sure it is changing the way we ought to start looking at the consumer. This is also happening in corporate world (in prospering economies like US, Europe for sure), your employees are your customers as well.

While companies are charging ahead with all kinds of disruptive moves, massive mergers, buy-outs and restructuring. The consumer segment seems to be in a state of flux. Imagine waiting for Vista was great but the users starting ripping the OS apart in a few weeks already. Reputation is everything and all the years of hard work from all the hard working engineers can be disregarded as a "waste of time". Same applies to other areas as well. It could be breakthroughs in storage world, networking or just about anything. Today the product that you sell has to say a lot about you, the producer and not anymore the customer. Gone are the days of Henry Ford where you could only choose the color of black. People want to define their own needs. Not you anymore. Donald trump did once say "Never go down on your knees in front of your client", I'm not really sure how you can do that in today's software world. New start-ups are producing faster and leaner products. New client acquisitions are getting harder and an arrogant attitude is not the way to do it anymore. It is no more the "Seller's market", the buyer is the king. Finally!

"Rise of consumerism!" you hear the media screaming. CEO's and CIOs are panicking. It is so hard to mobilize your own workforce, forget about the clients they're way too complex to understand anyways. Disillusionment and disappointment is on all levels. Not just the top level. In corporate as well as regular user community, things are just not getting any easier. So how should firms approach the clients? Who is my client? How does he look like? While all this might sound disturbing but we should not forget that we are on that "kondratiev" downhill track already. Meaning IT is racing towards the utility model. People expect IT to be just as pervasive as other pervasive utility like electricity or water.

Another day , another distro

But not just that with IT and the new world of IT, personalization is everything. I need my OS to be Windows XP today, MAC tomorrow and Linux later. OR I want Windows Vista alongside MAC OS alongside Solaris 10 alongside Ubuntu. Now blame it on the technology but Virtualization provided that! Don't worry ,I won't delve into virtualization too much here. But just to get your attention here for a minute, I thing software industry has to realize that it has a collective responsibility to gratify their customer. So Apple could join forces with Oracle could join forces with VMware could join forces with Microsoft could join forces with ... so you get my point? The consumer says "Hey, I need to run Mac OS X as my appliance today, you start your PC and click on the choice and you have your OSX packed with all the corporate applications. You'd want something else tomorrow, all you do is on another switch!

Consumer buzz not corporate hype

I am just a blogger, I work for a firm X today and may work for firm Y tomorrow, but I will always remain a consumer. When I talk about somethings that I need, I would really love to have it. Now if a lot of people want it so bad, you have to give it to them. Unless of course you are planning your own path and bank on some "couch potato" consumer segment (which is diminishing rapidly). Today its not about market capitalization (well at least its not what matters as it could vanish in no time) but about the mind. Its about my passion, its about your favorite color and its about the fun that we could have together as a network community. Its about friendships and its about maintaining these friendships.

Do Multicast

Addressing this complex amalgam of very eccentric consumers and regular excited folks is hard. Companies have to deploy strategies to both broadcast and narrowcast the consumer segment. Everyone likes to be approached in a certain way. Get that personalization up on front. A lot of firms are doing it. Look at VMware, a lof of people want "I love VMware" on their application. So there you have it. And they are not the only ones. That does not mean that segmentation is dead, its just more heterogeneous, more multi-channeled (multi threaded like the chipset revolution of dual cores, quad-cores, multi-cores) and of several dimensions. The idea is to join the stream of "mind networks". Not dictate, Join.

Think Foo Fighters!

Or think Kylie Minogue (or Madonna) but the consumer want you to get into their world too. You tell them how crazy you are about their preferences, you have them. You have their love! But also think of how they write their albums and are able to keep their fans for good strong 30-40 years. Best bands rarely lose fans. Only if companies can use that to rejuvenate their strategies. Think like a rock group and think about your fans!

Adapt to the "Mix 'n Morph" but work on Relationship marketing

I have changed my internet provider at least once a year. Why? Simply because I am getting cheaper internet and even faster up/download rates. I am mixing home VoIP, wireless streaming and the configuration and re-configuration of such has a "weekly window" in my head. Configurations change and I have to wait and then go for the next best SP (not ISP anymore as its internet, telephone, tv etc). As I get better at it, I might bring down my Change Window to 6 months! So you have to build a long term relationship with me for me to stay with you. Another example could be Virtualization. Today people are using Virtualization as a vehicle to do their "Mix 'n Morph". Imagine the benefits you can have when you promote it in your organizations. People are driven by their "daily moods". But it is also very adhoc and done rather haphazardly. Go to myspace and see how younger people setup their web pages. It is a reflection of what is there in their heads. I know, it does not look like a logically structured linear something, its massively parallel thinking person. If you are wondering who has handed them that, you'll need to look at the mirror.

The rise of aspirational computing is only the tip of the iceberg. Soon computing will disappear in the background and aspirations, symbolification, iconization, animism will take over like other regular utilities like Levi's Jeans or Refrigerator. I personally think Virtualization (among other technologies) is playing (and will continue to play) a major role in achieving such personalized work place. You have a "distro of your choice today". Virtualization and other technologies will have to signify human quality. They need to be understood better and by understanding the human will make that process a lot easier.

Note: Subject to corrections and addendum.


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