Chris Kranky

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Crafting the perfect product or service

Chris KoehnckeChris Koehncke

If you execute with absolutely precision to solve a problem that people are really having and do it at an affordable price, the world will beat a path to your door. Think about that as you craft you potential WebRTC app.

AeroPress_action2Meet Alan Adler. He’s a mechanical engineer and lectures periodically at thought provoking universities like Stanford. Alan is a bit odd and years ago he figured he could improve on the design of the lowly Frisbee. ¬†Utilizing his knowledge of polycarbonate and soft rubber, he crafted a new more aerodynamically balanced tossable ring. You might want to back up a bit. His Aerobie flying disk has held several world records for the longest human thrown object — a whopping 1,333 feet (over a quarter of a mile).

Alan also likes coffee and was dismayed at how much money on paraphernalia that people were spending on coffee making devices. In addition to expensive, these coffee brewing devices were often complex to use, clean and frankly, didn’t really make a great cup of coffee. Alan set his scientific mind to find an elegant, low cost and effective solution using his knowledge of plastics & engineering.

Thus in 2005, the Aeropress for coffee was born, crafted from 3 heavy duty plastic parts, it can brew up a mean cup of coffee in 30 seconds, clean in about 10 seconds and cost < $30. I bought one recently and in a massive nod to the power of “word of mouth“, I’m telling you, if you don’t have one, get one.

Clearly, I’m a tad late on this product. Crazies have taken the simple directions for coffee brewing with the Aeropress and bling’d it out such that there are now multiple championship “games” for the best Aeropress brewing held at worldwide locations. YouTube alone has 17,000 videos on using the Aeropress. On Amazon, the product has nearly 2,000 customer reviews.¬†Ironically, Aeropress is not patented and I was hard pressed to find a product knockoff (for under $30 why would you bother).

Back on topic, as Telefonica’s Tu Me service slips beneath the waves, let this serve as a stark reminder that there is no reward for fixing problems people don’t have or showing up late with an all too “me too” product. It’s still very early in the WebRTC game, the current toys are just that toys as people start to learn the capabilities (I will scream if I see another video conferencing application). The broader opportunity is to change how we communication. I’m tired of emails, looking for files, looking up telephone numbers, fumbling to find conference IDs, people pestering me to send them something, me pestering them to send me stuff.

WebRTC is not the bullet in the gun, but part of the mechanism of the next generation of communications that I hope someone is contemplating building today.