How Startups are Changing Communications

In preparation for a panel that I am taking part in at ITEXPO, next week, “New Game, New Rules: How Startups are Changing Communications” I started to think about the changes that the telecom industry is undergoing.

It seems to me that we are seeing a “Perfect Storm”. The convergence of technology, pricing and advances in user experience research has really set the startup landscape on fire. Continue reading

Why Should I Visit Miami?

If you live in the cold North the answer to the question “Why should I visit Miami” is pretty simple at this time of year.  As  the map below shows, no explanation is really needed!

 

However, although I like the warm winter weather as much as the next guy, the reason for my annual visits to Miami in January is different. As someone who has lived on the  edge of Telecom Innovation for the last 10 years, Miami in January is the venue for ITEXPO.  My first visit to ITEXPO was in January 2007 as we launched The Flat Planet Phone Company and since then I have been back numerous times as an exhibitor, speaker and attendee.

This ITEXPO will be especially exciting for me! In the next few months we will be launching our new startup fone.do which will revolutionize how small businesses setup and manage their phone systems. I look forward to discussing the next generation of small business communications with the many friends and advisors that populate the ITEXPO Community. Much of my knowledge and ideas have come out of this community and it is truly a pleasure to meet with them again.

Contrary to what many people think that SMB phone systems are a boring subject, our team is all on fire as we work on new technologies and methods which will definitely disrupt this $22B market.

Will you be at ITEXPO? Please contact me, so we can talk more!

 

 

Aside

How to Get “Missed Calls” While Your Phone is Off!

Missed calls

Missed calls

 

In this “always connected” age we never want to miss a call. Even when our phone is turned off, we want to get “missed calls” notification. Who knows? Maybe this will be the call which will change our life… Well in this post I am going to explain not only how to never miss a call while the phone is off, but I will also give you a few tips how to better manage your incoming calls and… your life!  Continue reading

How Do You Pitch Your Startup When No One Cares About Your Product?

As a serial entrepreneur for 30 years, I am constantly asked

What does your company do?

This question comes up in discussions with friends, family, potential investors, journalists and of course potential users.

Now the experts will tell you, that users don’t care about about your product, all they want to know is what it will do for them. The solution of course is to build a story which tells them how their biggest problems will be solved by your product.

One of those who did it best was Steve Jobs. When he came out with the first iPod, there was no mention of specs, only “1000 songs in your pocket”! Five words and you got it.

The problem is that as you build your startup you engage with many audiences besides your users. You speak with potential employees, investors, suppliers, journalists etc. And the truth is that not only do they not care about your product, they don’t even care about your users! So how do you pitch your startup to them ?!?

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Now on my tenth startup (fone.do), I finally realised that when speaking to these audiences my first sentence should be about what it does for them. For example – to a new employee I will say “this is a great growth opportunity for you to work on a revolutionary product with the latest programming tools”. When meeting potential investors, I will say to them “This investment will give you a 20x ROI since there are 22 million customers out there just waiting for us to launch!”
While a journalist will get from me “Readers will love to hear from you how new technologies will make their life easier!”

Once you get into the mode it is easy. Just put yourself in the other guy’s shoes and think what interests him.

Remember, no one cares about your product… or about your users. No one.

Voicemail is Dead. But, We Can’t Do Without It!

Everyone uses voicemail. Or do they?

The process of building a new phone system from scratch is very rewarding. You actually have the chance to examine axioms and decide if they are still relevant today. A good example is Voicemail.

Today it is hard to find a phone without Voicemail. But times are changing. As part of the design process for our newfangled phone system for businesses, we asked ourselves the question — do we need to include voicemail as a feature in our system? Our first answer was — of course, but further market research showed how wrong we were.

For example, I asked fellow startup founders on Karma  if they still use VM? The results as you can see in the screenshot  was clearcut. Research in other groups gave similar results.

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So did we go ahead and leave VM out of our design? No we didn’t. At a design meeting our UX (User Experience) consultant, Ido Shavit brought up an interesting point. People don’t want to leave a message, but on the other hand, they don’t want to just hear the phone ring, or hear a message that the subscriber is not available. Callers want some kind of personal feedback.

Ido’s comment, together with our existing feeling, that VM is due for an upgrade & overhaul has led us to design a new & improved Intelligent  Voicemail. We think you will like it. Stay tuned to for more information.  Sign up at fone.do and be notified when we launch!