Evolutionary Product Development goes into Overdrive

William Gibson quote

Innovation has gone into overdrive as Facebook, Google and Yahoo! serially announce a plethora of innovative products every week. This week brings:

Facebook messaging – social email that allows Facebook to access all their emails without ever leaving Facebook.

Google Hotpot – a recommendation engine associated with Google Places that roams right into Yelp territory, and Boutiques.com, Google’s entry into fashion commerce.

Yahoo! partners with seemingly all the social buying sites with the intent to overlay “coupon syndication” across their new Yahoo Local! network unveiled today.

Earlier in time, say last spring, the gorillas would watch what works at Groupon, Twitter, Foursquare and Yelp, copy the more successful innovations, and launch competing services (like Facebook Places) after they have proven utility. Now, they are leveraging their vast technological and financial resources to build products almost instantly because they understand innovation is prized and first mover advantages often do translate into market share as they evolve.

Real time product development impacts technology evolution three ways:

  • Startups will understand that it’s most important to build traction from their first mover advantage, and then adopt an acquisition exit strategy from a giant before they enter the game with an in-house development effort or a competitor acquisition.
  • Only the biggest will get to IPO stage. Investors will look for shorter term exits if they are uncertain about competitive advantage that can change overnight. Investors with strong ties to the Google/Yahoos may focus on an incubative model that seeds startups synergetic to their product development and media models.
  • Disruption creates new business models in a hurry when a Facebook pulls its weight. For example, Techcrunch’s MG Siegler provides analysis on how Foursquare, Gowalla and their ilk will migrate their business models to play alongside Facebook Places once it becomes the dominant check-in platform.

(I noticed the term “Evolutionary Product Development” used as a tag describing Brian Norgard at his new network Namesake. I recommend joining for those who are associated with any kind of media.)

About Pat Kitano

Patrick Kitano works with brands in developing hyperlocal engagement solutions and is administrator of the Breaking News Network, a national hyperlocal network devoted to community service. He is the author of The Local Network on Street Fight, and is reachable via Twitter @pkitano and email pkitano@gmail.com.