June 19th, 2013
Three players are vying for the top slot in the smartphone universe: HTC, Samsung and Apple. Recently, the price of the HTC One dropped to $49 (http://www NULL.androidauthority NULL.com/sprint-htc-one-wirefly-49-99-229612/). The Samsung Galaxy S4 has been seen for $99. The iPhone 5, which is the oldest of the bunch, is still priced around $199.
Each phone has its advantages, but there is no clear winner (http://www NULL.theverge NULL.com/products/compare/6927/6116/6863/6814/6274/6082), unless you are an Apple-only person. Is Apple hurting their sales by keeping the price at $199? It is hard to say. They may be trying to keep an impression of exclusivity around the phone and the brand, or they may be preventing new buyers from even thinking about buying the phone.
Apple has so far avoided releasing more than one new phone at the same time. They will still sell you previous generations for “free” or for $99, but they do not have a lower-featured new phone. I predict they won’t offer one, to keep their exclusivity intact.
Here are some things to consider as you figure out how much to charge:
- Supply vs. demand: if supply is short, you can charge more. If the market is flooded, you have to charge less.
- Positioning: if your offering is at the high or low end of the market.
- What your competitors charge.
- Differentiation: how unique your offering is.
- For a service: factor in your hourly rate.
- For a product: factor in how much it costs to produce.
- Market demand will vary, so cover your costs enough to make up for the low times.
- The amounts you pay for rent, utilities, insurance, etc.
- How long it will take you to pay for the development costs.
- Legal fees to protect your product or service.
- Talk with potential end users of your product or service to find out if they think your proposed price is reasonable.
Value is important. But people will only pay for what they think it’s worth.
May 28th, 2013
When do you keep things the way they are, and when do you push for change?
Chevrolet recently released a whole new version of their Impala (http://www NULL.chevrolet NULL.com/impala-sports-sedan NULL.html), a large sedan formerly banished to rental car lots. The new model is being marketed to a much younger audience. Chevrolet thinks they can gain some traction with the car’s sporty exterior and faster performance. What they don’t realize is that generally, people from 25-40 do not want large sedans.
A puzzling decision was their choice of people representing the selections in their on-screen dashboard control system. Each would appeal to people between 15 – 25. Current Impala buyers are in their 50s – 70s.
This is a small detail, but it reflects a lack of overall direction for the car. When you start your project, whether it is the revision of a multi-million dollar car or the relaunch of your newsletter, think of your actual audience. Be realistic by focusing on what they will respond to – and not on what the potential bleeding edge audience might like. Push the boundaries in areas where you will get some payback.
Photo courtesy of Car and Driver (http://www NULL.caranddriver NULL.com/) magazine.
May 16th, 2013
Learning is a discipline we all need to continue pursuing. Time and money have prevented many people from seeking ongoing quality education. But today, some of the finest learning is now available to everyone with an internet connection and a computer. For free.
MIT (http://ocw NULL.mit NULL.edu/index NULL.htm) offers a very robust set of courses. From cognitive sciences to nuclear engineering, they have you covered. Some background in your chosen field of study will be needed to understand the material. They also offer courses in more than just English.
Annenberg Learner (http://www NULL.learner NULL.org/) provides courses for teachers in the arts, foreign language, literature, science, and other traditional areas of study that are part of the average high school curriculum.
Harvard (http://www NULL.extension NULL.harvard NULL.edu/open-learning-initiative) offers a small set of courses, but each course has a full set of MP3, video, and PDF resources. As you might expect, several of the courses are very intellectually oriented.
Open Culture (http://www NULL.openculture NULL.com/freeonlinecourses) links to a very extensive set of resources for you to explore. Icelandic language and automotive design are just the tip of the iceberg.
April 25th, 2013
More and more websites are being viewed using mobile devices. eDigital Research reported that, “84% of smartphone owners have used their devices to browse websites.” That report (http://www NULL.edigitalresearch NULL.com/news/item/nid/243999809) was created almost a year ago, and so that number is only going up.
Not every website is ready for mobile devices. Many tablets will render websites OK, but not all phones do. Most smart phone browsers automatically detect that you’re visiting the site from a smartphone and will automatically adjust what you see. But not all websites have the capability to work with smart phones.
Here are two examples of websites that have not thought through their mobile strategy.
Squarespace (http://www NULL.squarespace NULL.com/), ironically, is a company that allows you to create your own website. The sites are nice, but the company’s site totally does not work on smart phones.
Aer Lingus (http://www NULL.aerlingus NULL.com/) is an airline that is based in Dublin, Ireland. Forcing the user to download an app or click through to a mobile site is not good.
Frontier Airlines (http://www NULL.flyfrontier NULL.com/) does a much better job. It’s not pretty, but on the landing page, you can very easily get what you need.
This post is not intended for embarrassing Squarespace and Aer Lingus but rather to show that even big companies can make mistakes in this area.
So what do you do?
1. First, load up your business website on a smartphone. Play around and see how it performs. Borrow a friend’s iPhone or Android phone to see how it works on both platforms.
2. If you haven’t got a business site yet, there’s good news. Free sites you can create through WordPress (http://wordpress NULL.com/) and Google’s Blogger (http://blogger NULL.com/) have built-in adaptability to smartphones. Their free sites have limited capabilities, but you may be able to do what you need with what they offer. If the free sites you can create there won’t do all you need, contact me. I can get you going with a good mobile-friendly site.
April 8th, 2013
I love car magazines. Automobile (http://www NULL.automobilemag NULL.com/) is one of the best. Each month, there’s a column about car design. The writer is a veteran car designer. His opinions are informed by vast experience. But I stopped reading his column a few years ago. His negative and know-it-all tone just got too annoying. Very few cars got his stamp of approval. He has to pick on the minor details of gloriously beautiful cars.
When you are writing as yourself (and not as a company) show that you do not know everything. Even if you are writing as a company, convey the attitude of being open to input. Be positive. Your readers will be much more open to hearing – and enjoying – what you have to say. Even when you are writing a negative review, say a few positive things.
If you are explaining something, be aware that not everyone knows all about your topic. Refer them to resources that will help beginners.
March 11th, 2013
There’s one thing you can do to be more productive in the time you must spend on getting all your work, school and general responsibilities done: Take a break.
The best breaks are a full day long. Leave your normal environment. Do something totally different than what you normally do. Be physical – if you stretch your body, that will help your mind too.
If you can’t take a whole day, take two evenings off. But just get a rest.