In business, prediction is an essential input for decision making. Better prediction reduces uncertainty and separates winners from losers. Yet when it comes to computing and the internet, prescient prediction remains elusive. Among myriad examples:
"The subscription model of buying music is bankrupt. I think you could make available the Second Coming in a subscription model, and it might not be successful." Steve Jobs, 2003 Rolling Stone interview
"Two years from now, spam will be solved." Bill Gates, 2004 World Economic Forum
"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." Steve Ballmer, 2007 USA Today interview
If titans of industry can be so wrong about what's going to happen next, what can be done to improve our chances of success?
Big Ideas that do not change
Rather than obsessing over what will change over time, what if we thought about what will not change? Trends that don't change are big ideas. And these big ideas are worth paying attention to, even if they appear banal. In effect, we can build sound business strategies around big ideas that remain stable over time.
Our Big Ideas at Paubox: Security, Reliability, and Ease of Use
In our business, we know customers want security, reliability, and ease of use. These are big ideas that will not change over time. For example, there's precisely a 0% chance a customer ten years from now will come to us and say, "I really love Paubox, but could you make it a little less secure?" The same goes for a customer telling us, "Big fan of Paubox, but could you throw in more downtime?" or "Hey, can you make Paubox harder to use? Can you make it harder for us to get in touch with tech support?" This mindset about what will not change allows us to have a precise decision matrix when it comes to customer feedback.
Case in point, last month we learned during a Zoom social mixer about our customers’ need for a secure method of transcribing audio attachments. As context, their corporate voicemail systems are setup to email audio attachments to end users. The risk of users opening audio attachments in public (via smartphones) obligated our customers to seek elevated HIPAA safeguards for their organizations. Therefore, their ask to us was, “Can you develop something that converts the audio attachments to text instead?”
This piece of customer feedback contained all three big ideas. They wanted additional security to lower risk. They wanted a reliable transcription service so their end users would no longer find opening an audio attachment a good use of time. And they wanted something easy to use, a solution that required no extra clicks or downloads. It was immediately clear what needed to happen next.
Using Email AI, we shipped a HIPAA compliant voicemail transcription robot less than a week later.
We are building a company of exceptional value. Come join us.
Hoala Greevy Founder CEO Paubox, Inc.