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Ever since (last week) I read the “The 9X Email Problem” by Andrew McAfee, I have been a bit obsessed with some of the core messages in that article. Maybe I am obsessed with it because of the stake I put in my own companies (yes I am one of the rare breed still alive who puts his money where his mouth is) and understanding at what point a product is good enough for consumers to say…”ok I am ready to pay for this” is critical to business success. Collaboration tools software, is it truly 9X? , enterprise collaboration solutions Is it something lower? How does this current to 9x continuum fit with the Everett Roger’s Technology Adoption Lifecycle model?
. Irrespective of the factor, I think everyone will agree that it needs to be “clearly” better (as an entrepreneur it is a bit scary to think that it needs to be 9X better ).
Because of this recent obsession with the 9X Email Problem, while jogging today, I saw a piece on health-care reform (on meet the press) that got me thinking some more. I wondered, if some of the same principles that Andrew cites in his “The 9X Email Problem” article are also at play on the current health care reform bill. Is it possible that the overall bill actually is quite sound but it is not 10X better than what we now have…so majority is not able to get behind it because of all the reasons Andrew cites?
If you were to remove the un-insured (40+M) which in this case could be equated to the Innovators + early adopters (15-16%) in the technology space (as they have a lot to gain by this bill so they are automatically behind it), overall support numbers look even grimmer (<25%). Is it possible that most of America is underweighting the benefits of the change by a factor of 3 and overweighing the fear of what they will be giving up creating a mismatch of 9 to 1 between what they think they are getting and what is actually being proposed? . Is it possible that the 9X email problem is actually not a technology or a new consumer product problem but in a generic sense it is a “any significant change” problem?
(I guess in a way a the heath care bill is a new consumer product).
CNN’s of the world have run multiple stories on how, president Obama, the greatest communicator in recent history, has failed to communicate with the American people when it comes to health-care. Maybe it is not the president’s ability to communicate but an overall value problem, as described in Andrew’s article, that takes time to un-fold and understand as it needs to go thru’ the same cycle of adoption a technology product goes thru? Let me give you an example. At our company, we offer health insurance to everyone (full-time, part-time, and contract). At the beginning on this year, our business insurance company raised our premiums by 26% for the same plan – no explanation, no reasoning….
pay the higher premium or find a new insurance company.
What business raises rates in a recession unless it’s a monopoly? Anyways…we had no “real” choice but, project management online, to pay the higher premium or settle for a lower plan. Having experienced this incident combined with other past experiences, I would give any reasonable attempt at changing how the health-care system works a chance. So, my personal threshold for the health care bill is probably a lot lower than 9x…I would say anything above 1, I will give that a shot – maybe that’s the silver lining in all of this for us entrepreneurs.
Any new product needs to be clearly better than the current solution and needs to get enough people excited that they will give it a try (innovators + early adopters), realize the incremental benefits, and help refine the concept so that product starts to approach the 2 X to 3X better threshold (probably much lower when product gains can be provenly applied to large overall numbers). , task management dashboard As this happens, multiplying factor associated with perceived risk goes down as the early adopters start to become evangelist of the product and social influence starts to overcome the current endowment issues. So the overall news for entrepreneurs is actually much brighter than it would seem from the 9x email problem article.
While no one likes to advertise it, most of the successful companies are not successful because of their original idea, but because they were able to iterate and transform that idea into something that really resonated with customers. So, let the 9X email problem be a yard stick to measure your idea/product by but don’t just stand on the shores waiting for that home run idea to come by before acting, they seldom exist.
But you already knew all this! As far as the health bill goes, I am hopeful, it will pass and even if it makes the overall system just 10% better…I will take it.