Jamie Siminoff is CEO and Chief Inventor at Ring, the world's first battery operated smart doorbell. Although they invented this brand new product, Siminoff is clear that they’re “not a technology product company”. Instead, they focus their time on fixing a problem – as he explains here, it just happens that this is done through technology...
New technology is exciting, promising and, as a result, very enticing to entrepreneurs. With the tech industry growing at a rapid pace and competition getting increasingly intense, it’s easy to want to jump on what’s new before anyone else - but don’t be seduced by new technology. Often times, emerging technology can lead you down a dead-end road, and more companies have failed by going too fast with a new technology than too slow. In the short term, your customers simply need (and want to buy) a solution that solves their problem. Adding flashy new features that don’t solve that problem won’t help you.
So, instead of spending valuable time and resources incorporating extraneous bells and whistles, focus on developing your core product to perfection so it solves that problem. At Ring, our mission is to reduce crime in neighbourhoods, so we are laser-focused on making our products work seamlessly as preventative security devices. Every feature, technology and product we offer helps us further that mission.
That’s not to say that emerging technology can’t benefit your company; but instead of immediately adopting a new technology, consider its potential in the long run and whether it fits in with your mission. When your company is big enough, I recommend creating a skunkworks of team members that focuses on research and development. This can be either a full-time team or a group that spends, say, 10 per cent of their time focused on R&D. Regardless, it’s important that this team works on emerging technology as a completely separate project from what’s in the product pipeline. New technology and skunkworks innovation should be compartmentalised and kept independent from day-to-day operations in the office.
In the end, any technology you decide to incorporate needs to add value for your customers. Even the most impressive technology means nothing to your customers if it’s not functional and doesn’t serve a purpose. That’s the difference between the bleeding edge and the leading edge. Stay leading!