I had a thought that goes back to the very early days of blogging, and a theory I had then, which thanks to Kickstarter seems to either be about to come true, or has already come true.
2. But users have the most valuable ideas for products, locked up in their experiences with current products.
3. They can see the problems because they have a different point of view from the vendors. And point of view is very important when it comes to products. It's as important as technical knowledge.
4. In the old way of doing things the product guys are geniuses and every so often they come down from the mountain and bestow their gifts on us mere mortals, and we praise them and thank them, and pay them, and then they ignore us. (See item #1.)
5. But once the users can communicate with each other, we will be able to pool our experience, and given enough time, smart users will learn the technology well enough to make the products that (key point here) they know there is demand for. Because they are the ones demanding it.
I figured that blogging communities would form and out of that would come new products and businesses, and products that more closely match the way people really are, not the way the companies imagine we are. I've been inside enough companies to know how badly companies abstract the needs and wants of users.
Now, Kickstarter, an idea I knew was right from the get-go (wish I had had a chance to invest) is either tapping into the knowledge that users have that vendors are missing big opportunities because of poor vision. I think sites like gdgt and Stack Overflow are tapping into the other side of it, providing venues for smart users to share experience. Eventually the two will meet. Threads will start on these sites and migrate to Kickstarter, and the mutual-itch will turn into a vision, and it gets funded, and is realized. Or at least have a chance to be realized.
BTW, as an aside -- what led me to this is my interest in communicating cameras. The products here are moving way too slowly. So when Canon came out with with a camera with wifi earlier this year, I immediately bought one, without a second thought. But it is a tantalizing disappointment, because they designed it in a fairly brain-dead way. I couldn't get it to work. So I started a thread. And after a while Jeff Hellman, a person who reads my site, figured out how to get it to work, and posted a howto, which I then tried and it worked! Hey. That's pretty cool. But there are too many steps and too much software to install. The company, like all companies, thought we needed them to make this work. We just need them to create a bridge, we can make it work better without their help.
There's a next step to this. Let's jailbreak this mofo like they open up iPhones, and get the Canon camera to act as a file server. All I want is SMB file sharing on the thing. I don't care if it's protected, at least not at first. Let it boot up as a read-only device that I can access as a file server from any computer on my LAN. I'll let my router provide the security.
Even better -- put an HTTP server on it. That idea, my friends, goes back to 1997. How ridiculous to have to wait that long! Whole lives have been lived in the interim (well almost).
And there's another idea I'm desperate to see done right -- a podcast player. Apple still doesn't understand podcasting. Sorry. I know you all think they invented it, but they don't do it right. I'll write another post about this soon, but I'm pretty sure it's already in the archive here on scripting.com.
This is why the real power of blogging has yet to be realized, imho. When it's done, industry will have been restructured around communities of users who communicate (see the similarities in the words). Today we're still in the world where the companies market to us through social networks. That is vestigial. Marketing isn't as important as experience.