Rui Paiva Rui Paiva CEO - WeDo Technologies

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Does the 'small stuff' matter?

  • social mediaAnyone watching the 'evolution' of the world's major social networks must be wondering what else they can come up with to keep their users "Always On"!
    Facebook, since going public, seems particularly obsessed with anything and everything that it thinks may 'enhance' the user experience. It started life as a browser-based website and progressed to a fully-fledged mobile offering complete with its own apps running on every mobile platform.


    That was logical but its constant re-engineering and re-design of pages and privacy policies, mainly to accommodate advertising pushes, has annoyed even the diehard fans.

    Then it went on a buying spree to add 'functionality' and variety to the plain old vanilla posting of photos and comments to friends and family. 

    This may have seemed like a good idea to Mr Zuckerberg, but having to integrate all the new things is taking its toll on the people he is trying to please most, the Facebook users, especially those that were attracted to its original concept of being simple and ad-free.

    In complete contrast Jan Koum the co-founder and CEO of the popular instant messaging platform WhatsApp, said it will be sticking to its guns by avoiding advertising and staying away from gimmicks" like games and disappearing photos (an obvious reference to Snapchat). "The important thing is focus," he said.

    So, who will be right in the long run - the one that keeps offering more functionality and moves further from its core offering, or the one that sticks with what it knows and does best.

    The question could be asked of users - do they want a one-stop shop for everything or are they happy to have numerous apps that are the best at what they do ?

    I recall reading recently that the primary job of an airline is to get passengers safely from A to B. That's taken for granted, which is why lost baggage, rude staff and faulty entertainment units leave such a bad impression. The 'small stuff' matters because the big things, like arriving in one piece, are taken for granted.

    Coming back to the world of telecommunications, and applying the same principles, could it be that CSPs are trying too hard to offer more and more things and neglecting their key business ?

    Are they so concerned with measuring and improving the customer experience by flooding them with services, apps, products and plans rather than just giving them the best network ?  

    What's wrong with letting them decide what extras they want and let them buy from anywhere they like ?

    Retailers have mastered the art of selling non-core products like banking, insurance, card services, telecoms and even utilities, but variety is the driver in retail supermarkets and department stores.

    You would never go to a butcher to buy vegetables, or go to a shoe store to buy an air conditioner, would you ? Some things are best acquired through specialist channels, right ?

    It's likely that neither Zuckerberg nor Koum will be completely right, but it will be interesting to see who makes the most profit, who sells out for the most money or who survives the longest. Not that longevity is seen as sign of success these days.

    However, looking back at the telecoms industry, and the networks operators in particular, we are seeing definite trends mimicking those of Facebook and WhatsApp. 

    One group wants to be all things to all people by acquiring, developing and offering a range of non-core products, the other is concentrating its efforts in providing the best networks and support systems.

    Will the 'small stuff' take their eyes off the core network or will pure network operators succumb?

    Rui Paiva
    About Rui Paiva Rui Paiva works as CEO at WeDo Technologies
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