Nowhere is this more true than when it comes to Apple customers, iTunes and music, and so I want to set the stage — in light of an interesting article I'll link to below.
First, in my experience, with large companies, the sequence of events in many similar services goes like this:
- Bright idea by developers
- Beta fanfare, implementation
- Productize and market
- Lots of money earned
- Rosy projections for growth made
- Competitors bust in, grab some of the money
- Customers get saturated
- Technology changes
- Managers panic: why aren't projections met?
- Increased pressure on sales team -- which is handed the blame
- Prospect for flat or negative growth
- Draconian actions to reinvigorate the service
- Punish the loyal customers by disrupting original service
- Rinse, repeat
This scenario is almost a law of nature. The critical part comes when the early, rosy sales projections aren't met and the reaction to that results in, sometimes, the Abilene Paradox. The first, dreadful instinct by powerful, senior managers is to force the customer, in some fashion, to change so that revenues can be maintained. It always seems like a good idea at the time because, as we know, saner heads never prevail.
But then Harvard's Law kicks in, and everything goes south.
Apple is having that debate right now. Here's the salient article: "Underwhelming Start to iTunes Radio Lights Fire Under Apple." This one will be very interesting to watch because, at its core, it is all about, after all, music.
Don't miss the week's tech news debris which continues on page 2.
Teaser image via Shutterstock.