February 26th, 2005

Old customers are blind


Here’s a story from APRICOT: The Hitachi-cable folks who made the wonderful WiFi SIP Phones originally didn’t believe this will work. They have been trying to sell the phones in Japan but their customers wasn’t really interested.

“Who wants WiFi only phones?” “my i-mode/FOMA can do more things!” “I still need to install a SIP server?”

This was confirmed when we found very few Japanese interested in our trial.

But all the gaijin goes ya-ya over the phones. Just before Ogawa-san (from Hitachi-cable) presentation, I did a quick strawpoll and asked how many people have the phones. A few hands raise up. Then I asked how many wants the phone. Almost everyone in the room raised their hands. Ogawa-san was speechless.

Moral of the story: When you have an innovative product, don’t talk to your old customer; They are all blind. Instead, find new ones!

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