Are you a software company? Go beyond the definition and see how you can utilise your Cloud Power. Let it be Azure, Amazon AWS, Google AE, Rackspace or just Software-as-a-Service in general, you have an amazing power in your hands – combine this with being childish and look at the results. Why is this post on my blog? Keep reading and you’ll find your answer.
Thanks to ancient Greeks, the world is a logical place by now. Starting from pre-school at the age of 4-6, we learn logical and sequential thinking all the way through higher education and apply it all over work and life – everywhere. Sequential thinking protects us from exploring areas of uncertainty – a direction of thought that is not proven or defined well enough, is unsafe and it’s forbidden to follow – in thinking, most of us use the models that mathematicians use to prove assumptions. Most of us are obsessed with defining the “WHAT IS IT” question – WHAT are we dealing with? WHAT are we holding in our hands? WHAT are we seeing? … and stuck there until we define the WHAT question. We proceed slowly but surely and along the way, we miss the opportunity of doing something outstanding, unusual … well, most of us do miss them … but some of us ignore these rules and this is how new, crazy, unusual and indeed, popular ideas are born.
The planting of sequential and logical thinking normally starts at the age of 4-6 or even a bit earlier. So, if you look at how children play, you can explore how humans work by default – until education changes us. Children normally approach things from a different perspective. Instead of defining the WHAT question, they figure our WHAT THEY CAN DO WITH THE OBJECT IN PLAY – you can see this when they grab an unknown object and use it in unusual (and sometimes funny) ways – see clothes built from toilet papers, mugs used as loud speakers and so on.
They explore a whole lot more and go into directions where educated adults would never go. For children, an “exploration” doesn’t have to be logical and known … all they care, is the quality of the game – to be enjoyable and fun.
WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH THE CLOUD?
The Cloud is an abstract thing – as abstract as internet itself. In 1980, would you have ever imagined that there crowdsourcing, such as www.mturk.com to distribute transactional work across crowds of people all over the world and get quality results in a controlled fashion? A few years ago, would you have imagined that we’ll use services like 99designs.com to pull a hundred designers into a graphic design contest and pay for only the best design? These services use technologies which have been available for a long time – scalable infrastructure, HTML, authentication and credit card payment processing. But still, they needed a long time for someone to come up with the idea which didn’t sound perfectly logical at the time.
So, what can you do with the Cloud? How can you use it in a way that is different from today’s commodity software and different from your competitors? How can you use this enormous power at hand? Do you have an existing product or service? How can you turn it around and make it stand out? WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH THE CLOUD?
BE DIFFERENT, BE UNIQUE, DO SOMETHING THAT YOU COMPETITORS DON’T DO TODAY
Now, it’s your time to deliver something valuable to your clients, which makes them choose you instead of your competitors … yea, grab a bigger slice of that cake! You can come up with unusual ways to charge your clients, for example – you can give them a no-risk charging model. Charge them only when their business runs well and do not charge them when they just survive (read more here about happy charging models) – remove the barriers of signing up for your service, make it free from long-term commitments and see how they react. Is your market knowingly full of complex, difficult-to-set-up software? Build 2-3 pre-created configurations to cover 80% of your clients’ requirements and make it easy for them to sign up. Is it impossible to create auto provisioning for your software? No problems – provision 10 instances manually and build a provisioning Cloud site which will assign those pre-provisioned instances to your new clients once they signed up (and fix them later manually) – give them a SaaS experience, even if it’s knowingly impossible. Make it automated, make it simple, make it enjoyable and unique. Take risks – using the Cloud, you can take risks for less.
WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH THE CLOUD TODAY?
Do something outstanding and post it here – I want the whole world to hear about it!
If you’d like to read more about sequential thinking, read Edward De Bono’s title “Lateral Thinking”.
David Szabo, Cloud Strategy Advisor, Firestarter and Rulebreaker at Microsoft. Startup-addict, SaaS & Cloud consultant, blogger at http://cloudstrategyblog.com and LEGO serious play facilitator. Follow me on Twitter!