LinkedIn CEO, Jeff Weiner, gave a talk at this year’s Launch Festival in San Francisco. As reported online by Business Insider, he listed what he believes to be the five key principles that make a world class tech product or service. They are as follows:
Deliver a singular value proposition
Anticipate customer needs
Have a meaningful impact
Although his talk was focused on retail products and services, such as Google, Waze, Sonos, Tesla and the iPhone, I think it worthwhile considering them in the context of broadband deployments to help keep in mind that the underlying premise of broadband deployments has changed and to help maintain the proper focus for success.
All of us who were involved in broadband deployments back at the turn of the century know all too well the “build it and they will come” mantra that ended up leaving the industry high and dry when it could not meet its numbers. Although the need for broadband was not then well understood, it is clearly now a necessity to meet what seems to be the insatiable bandwidth requirements of the content providers and end users. So much so that it is easy to fall prey again to the mantra of yesteryear instead of concentrating on how best to achieve the goal of a world class tech product or service.
Delivering a singular value proposition is easy. It is, or should be, what broadband deployment is all about. So too is anticipating customer needs for a reliable, low latency, low packet loss service.
Exceeding expectations is an interesting concept when it comes to broadband deployment and a criterion that at first glance does not seem all that relevant. It is, however, on point. Weiner gave the example of needing help with his Sonos that was provided by a customer service representative who stayed an hour after closing to help him set up his music. Given the importance of broadband to both providers and users, it does not take much to consider and understand the importance of exceeding expectations.
Resonating emotionally is a tougher call when it comes to broadband deployments. Weiner referred to the Tesla and how it was like “driving an iPhone” or “driving the future.” Yet, it has its place in the world of broadband deployments. Indeed, it should go without saying that broadband deployments allow the future to happen even though it may be hard to be emotional about it (unless, of course, it becomes subject to interruptions and delays.) We all know the value of a broadband facility that delivers by seamlessly providing the speed and reliability required for its use. It becomes almost intoxicating. The expression that “one can never go back” once they use it is never more true with a broadband product or service.
In a similar vein, having an impact also goes without saying in the world of broadband deployments. Weiner gave the example of the iPhone and how it has become the “control panel” of his life. How could anyone these days do without a broadband connection, whether it is a carrier providing lit services or the user accessing the Internet. It is clearly a component of both. In other words, broadband deployment does, almost by definition, have a “meaningful impact.”
So, what is the takeaway from Weiner’s five key principles in the context of broadband deployments? It is, in my opinion, the new mantra; a mantra that needs to be continually kept in mind as we deploy, offer and use broadband products and services. Yes, broadband deployments can speak for themselves but it is all too easy to just put them out there and expect everything to fall in place. Instead, like anything else, they require not only the proper focus but also the hard and constant work that is necessary to meet and sustain these principles for a successful broadband deployment.