Sunday, January 01, 2006

TiVO & Lazy Reader

I want to elaborate a little bit on my last post, "People are Lazy".

There is deep-seeded power behind this observation. It the engine behind the rise of Tivo, search, and just about any other innovation you can think of. Tivo is my favorite example. People have been recording shows since VCRs came along when I was a kid.

It was known as 'recording shows' until Tivo came along and it became 'time shifting'. As far as I know nobody raised much of a stink about it. It wasn't until it became really easy that it gained traction and mainstream adoption.

There are all sorts of pertinent observations here. Recording was possible with existing technology (VCR), but it was a pain in the ass. Try recording 12 shows using a VCR and 240 minute tapes for an extended period of time.

Throwing a hard drive and basic processing at the situation was also relatively easy to do, but you had to be a very patient hardware engineer with fairly advanced software expertise as well. All the skills were learnable, and all the materials were available at Radio Shack, but who has time.

The guys who built the TiVo business said to themselves 'People are Lazy' (I am guessing here really. They could have been saying 'I'm a geek god, look how cool my shit is!!!', but I don't think so). Along the way, they stumbled into benefits, like pausing live TV.

The same thing applies to peer-based publishing, RSS, Tagging, and all of this stuff. Its all there. Anyone can dive in and play around. But no one will -- not enough to build a real bustling, profitable market. Not until the 'cool shit!!!' mentality gives way to the 'people are lazy' approach to building services.

And by 'People', I mean non-blogger, non-developer, non-techie, non-VC, non-geek people. They are not stupid, they are just busy with the rest of their lives. Services that make all of this networked value easier to access are the ones that will matter.


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