March 12th, 2005


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Blink : The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell (the author of The Tipping Point)

Absolutely love the book. And I can relate to the many stories cited by Malcolm especially about intuition – sometimes people asked me how I know what technology to focus – I don’t know how but I just know it.

There is also another important lesson to learn : When you asked someone what they want, they often give you the wrong answer. For example, when Herman Miller rolled out the Aeron chairs, everyone they survey pre-market love the feeling but hated the look. It was rated 2-3 out of 10, where 1 is really bad aesthetic. Yet, after Aeron hits the market and won several industry design awards, the score jumped to 8 out of 10!

The lesson here is that when you present someone with some so radical different from what they used to, they are going to reject it just because it is different. (at least initially)

Now, this has some relevancy to VoIP: Many entreprise cited QoS and Security as two main issues why they didnt deploy VoIP. But is that really true? Could it be because the CIOs are unfamilar with VoIP, and therefore not comfortable with it, and hence, QoS and Security problem is the mind trying to give a logical reason to that uncomfort?

Back in the early 90s, I heard similar arguments about why Email cannot be used as entreprise communication – poor QoS and Security. 10 years forward, sure, we have secure email now but are people using that? Nope, most are using unsecured email no different from the early 90s except for a handful, e.g. government, who really need secure email. What has really changed is that CIOs are no longer uncomfortable with Email.

So good luck to all those who believed the survey and invested to solve the so-called “QoS and Security” problem for VoIP. It is, indeed, blind leading the blind.

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