Sean M Everett

^Humanizing Technology   |   Table of Contents

How to Identify A Market In…

Steve Jobs famously said in an All Things Digital interview that Apple only builds products in a market in its ascendency.

What he meant by that was they look for a consumer spending line that has a very steep slope upwards. The market size might be small today but it’s trending to be huge tomorrow.

Remember digital music and mp3s? Not a lot of people were buying MP3 players in 2000, but then came the iPod shortly after, jump starting the market, and now the iPhone nearly killed it.

But how do you identify one of these markets before the iPod comes out and sets the market on fire? Even better, how do you know when to build the iPod in the first place?

The short answer? Signals.

The long answer? It depends.

Seriously, it does. What industry are you playing in? Who are the customers? What’s wrong with the current products and solutions? How many people are actively buying these solutions? Have small informal groups come together to begin hacking solutions? Are people coming to you asking for help? How many times do you come across the topic in industry trade publications or the mass media at large? Are there competitors playing in the space or announcing solutions? And, is it something you’re an expert on and have the resources to build and service it? Do you have customer connections who are willing to give you money today to build it?

If the answer to all of these  questions are yes or can answer distinctively, then you might have an opportunity on your hand.

If any of them are no or ambiguous, you might want to wait.

- Sean

Apple’s Plan for the Wearab…

If you think Apple won’t play in this market because they already have the iPod, iPhone, iPad and computer lines you’ve forgotten about the innovator’s dilemma. Of course, by now (and if you read this blog), then you already knew that.

But, maybe you didn’t know that Tim Cook has been wearing a Nike Fuelband for years. As I’ve said many times before, it’s the most intimate piece of hardware I’ve ever owned. It goes with me to bed while I’m sleeping and with me in the shower when I’m getting clean.

Think about that for a moment. It’s damn near sexual. Sleeping together. Showering together.

No wonder Apple would want a piece of this consumer market. The iPhone stays on the nightstand when I sleep or shower and indoors when I go running. The Fuelband doesn’t. It comes with me.

But it’s a tiny market, you say, not a large market. Of course it is. Now, anyways. It’s new. But it’s on its ascendancy. And that’s the key point. They don’t play in speculative markets. Just like Apple TV. Imagine what will happen when they open the TV App Store. Or an App Store for the Apple iBand.

Yep, that’s what I’m calling it. It’s not going to be the iWatch. Too hard to spell compared to “band”. Watching is creepy. Besides, “band” is a musical double entendre and we all now how much Apple loves music.

So as Rihanna says, c’mon rude boy, giddy up.

How much would I charge? If I were Apple I’d start a bit higher than the Fuelband reference point. Maybe $199 for the premium version and $99 for the non-premium.

The premium would have an led display with biometric readouts and tracking. It’s resting right next to a pulse point of course. The basic version would just be basic calories and step counting, plus clock. Of course Apple’s the type of company that would focus on just making only 1 version right out of the gate so my gut goes with the premium version, then making it cheaper over time.

The wrist is a powerful area. It’s the only place where men have worn jewelry for decades. And men have been wearing that darn Lance Armstrong rubber band bracelet for almost a decade. Even with business suits to the office. I don’t think Apple would make a necklace or some other clip-on device. Men just wouldn’t wear it, and they’re most of the early adopters for tech, even if women are the early adopters for social services.

Want an Apple iBand? Stay tuned, you’re going to salivate over it. After all, they hired the former CEO of Burberry to run their retail and online stores and the former CEO of Yves Saint Laurent (a Chicago Booth alumn, holla!) to design it.

Personally, I can’t wait to strap one on.

- Sean

How to Be Married 42 Years

Two of my heroes have been married for 42 years today.

It’s the single most impressive thing I’ve witnessed every single day of my 32 years on this planet. Want to know how to do it right? Look no further than Kev-bone and Sal-gal.

They’ve never done anything without each other and have been each other’s and my rock for decades.

Most people have been marketed to so much that they think the wedding day is the most important moment. Or maybe the proposal. What I’ve witnessed is that society has it mostly wrong.

It’s not about one moment, but the trillion tiny moments strung together over time. It’s a line, not a dot. It’s the minor moments every day. It’s not the grand gestures that happen once a year. It’s about consistency.

If there’s one thing my parents taught me, it’s that to be successful, whether in your working life or love life, you need to string together a million little moments over decades.

It’s true. Love, like life, is a marathon.

Happy Anniversary mom and dad.

- Sean

Why Instagram Going Down Ye…

  1. Look at all the free press, blog posts, tweets, and Facebook updates written about them. In a few weeks people will forget that the service even went down, but Instagram will still have the positive benefit of being front of mind for consumers.
  2. It turned people into crackheads. Pull to refresh. Pull to refresh. PULL TO REFRESH. Just give me my damn Instagram!!! Guess what that does. Makes it even more of a habit. Tell a smoker he or she can’t smoke. Tell a workout freak they can’t go to the gym. Tell a woman she can’t go shopping :) In each case, it makes them want it even more. Stickiness.
  3. When it finally came back up, there was a floodgate of held-back photos. The explosion of content was extreme and people were more likely to post again just so they could get their “fix”. This upped engagement and retention for them, at least in the short term, especially considering all the people saying “Instagram’s back up!” driving even more traffic to the service.

Side note:  this “going down” strategy (and I highly doubt it was a strategy) only works with already successful products. If your product goes down a lot and it’s not already amazing and incredibly sticky, it will hurt your brand and its perception with customers. In Instagram’s case, though, they can get away with it because they have an already incredible and highly engaging product. As always, focus on quality first. It solves all problems.

Thinking Deeply to Solve Pr…

There’s this fundamental disconnect between being busy and doing deep thinking. The more successful you are the more you’re pulled into reactionary, triage mode instead of deep thoughtfulness mode.

Execution requires the former, but innovation requires the latter.

Thus, you’re required to schedule “library hours” for yourself if you’ve made deep thinking a hallmark of your success. It’s the only way to keep the innovator’s dilemma at bay.

I sat in front of a panel this week at our Piksel party. It was a debate about the merits of traditional broadcast television versus the upstart digital video revolution. Big names from YouTube and the major 3-letter networks were there.

The innovator’s dilemma slapped me across the face listening to the discussion. Traditional broadcasters aren’t willing to change because there’s not as much ad revenue in digital. At least not yet.

And therein lies the dilemma.

If you don’t do the deep thinking, you miss it. You miss that the growth in digital is extraordinary, the targeting precise, and the analytics accurate when you’re head-down just doing media buys the entire time.

New ideas can come from reacting to the day’s email but revolutionary ideas only come from deep thinking.

Once you figure it out, it’s up to you to will it into existence. Nobody else can see the entire vision or piece the pieces together. It requires boldness of character and the risk of getting fired.

But if you’re around the right people, they’ll feed you and not just encourage you, but beg you to take that risk. Move things. Push things. Pull things. The only way to make others believe something is real is for you to believe they’re real first through inception-level thought.

Have you ever walked up to someone, asked them a question, and have seen a blank stare on their face? Like they were so deep in thought? You just awoke them from inception.

This is why engineers need library hours for deep thought. They don’t need to go one level deep. They need to go two or three levels deep. They need to manifest a brand new world in their mind, build it from scratch, and step by brutal step, bring that world up one level  at a time, from dream to reality.

Want to change the world, or just change your paycheck? Go searching for inception.

- Sean

NAB Day 3: Design As A Dif…

I’ve walked around hundreds of booths of varying complexity, size, and design styles. I’ve looked at a million graphics and spoken to many sales people, product people and managers.

Almost across the board, everyone is missing the one thing we as humans really care about:  using video to show human experiences.

You see thousands of technical terms and interfaces but no emotional copy. You see loud and busy booths but no compelling story.

In a world full of bustling noise, it’s the silent still man who stands out.

I have to hand it to our marketing team and our UX design team. They don’t just get it, they execute on it.

I hate the word “content”. It’s not content. It’s a vehicle for human connection. Do you think our hundreds of Faith customers would call their Easter service “content”? It just sounds silly.

Do you think fans of March Madness would call the Final Four “content”? No, that’s just silly.

The massive poster we have on the front of the convention center is a picture of a mother with a child, comfortable watching the bright how of an iPad.

It’s not content. It’s humanity.

- Sean

What I’ve Learned From Peop…

Lots of lessons in here.

  • CEOs, CTOs, Biz Devs, and salespeople all launch directly into their message
  • They ask me very few questions trying to understand my situation
  • I spell out exactly the struggle I have, exactly what I need, then ask a question
  • They don’t answer my question and launch back into canned messaging

For the love of all things holy, please don’t make this same mistake if you’re trying to help, not sell, someone.

NAB Day 1

I’m spending the week in Las Vegas at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show. It’s absolutely huge and insane. Only thing bigger is probably CES held in the same venue.

Yesterday my company Piksel announced a fun new product:…

We’re also announcing something pretty fun today too in regards to sports. If you like watching sports, especially college, then boy are you going to like this.

In the meantime here’s a few photos of our big busy booth.

- Sean

Flytecast: Piksel’s TV Sta…

We’re announcing a new product today at NAB, the National Association of Broadcasters conference, in Las Vegas.

It lets you plug multiple camera sources into the box shown below (from big broadcast cameras to consumer camcorders to iPhones and yes even Google Glass).

Then you fire up the companion iPad app and can switch between live streaming video sources just by tapping the video. Which ever video you tapped is the one that viewers see.

It’s a mobile production studio and only weighs a few pounds.


- Sean