Fish where the fish are

The other day I got a notification from my Google Photos app. Curiously, I opened the app. And lo, it showed a collage of pictures that I’d taken eight years ago! My heart filled with nostalgia. Couldn’t help but shed a tear or two.

I forwarded the picture to a few close friends, and they couldn’t help but react like I did.

That’s what pictures do to you. Someone wise once said, “take pictures because, at the end of your life, the memories are all that remains.” Made a lot of sense then, more so now.

But this isn’t about the app or one of its several cool features. It’s about the philosophy behind the creation that makes it unique. The app lives true to its organizational vision of “touching human lives and making it better.”

Think about it; Google is one of the most influential tech companies of the 21st century. It had humble beginnings. Started off with its search engine. Took time to refine and mold to its customer’s needs.

Then we heard about Gmail, famously titled “email the Google way.” I’m not sure if you remember this — the service was in BETA for close to two (perhaps three?) years! You could only have a Gmail account if you had an invitation — some people even sold these invites on eBay for $100! — giving the early adopters a sense of pride and exclusivity.

Over the years the company has launched several services, including Social Media (Orkut, Buzz and now Plus) and the versatile Google Calendar. And let’s not forget the Labs feature that comes free with all accounts showcasing cool widgets that make our lives simpler. Some of these widgets went to graduate into full-fledged apps as well!

The point is Google fishes only where the fish are. It doesn’t launch apps and services just because it has the resources to make one. They do their due diligence to study the market before rolling out a product or service that’s indispensable to its customers!

Business is a risk. And the # 1 responsibility of any business is to find the gap between its customer’s needs and want. They will always be willing to pay for what they truly need. Research. Explore the market. Once you’ve done so, communicate in a way that resonates with the audience.

Just like Google. Be willing to stay in BETA until you know that the market is ready. And yes, be prepared to pull the plug and start over when that is not the case.

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