So I was speaking to a programmer friend of mine the other day. She works on a web site for a company that provides mail handling services. As I was on the phone with her, I looked at the most recent iteration of the website.
It's pretty at full size, but I scaled it down to see what would happen. By the time it got down to even tablet size, the site became unusable. (I know, I know, this site has the same flaw; I'm working on it.) This company helps people manage their mail and allows remote access, thus saving time and providing peace of mind. I mentioned to my friend that it doesn't scale, it doesn't look right on a smaller screen. What went on in my mind is that if a prospect comes to this site on a mobile device, he'll leave before this company can deliver its message, make its offering, or make a sale.
Her response is that most of her work right now is back-end (that's the programming to provide the functionality, as opposed to the front-end, the interface with the user), and there are marketing and design people for the other side. It was obvious, to me anyway, that those departments are not pulling their weight.
This to me looks like an opportunity. I value thinking and making connections. I'd guess that any employer holds employees who think on behalf of the company in higher regard than those who just do their work. I can't imagine that my programmer friend doesn't know that the site doesn't work smaller. And even if she didn't know, she does now. But her response wasn't “Wow, I'll let the folks know and see what we can do about it.” It was “It's someone else's job.”
Now let's follow this out a little. Here's a company with a good idea. They've invested money in this business and have worked it out. It's toodling along, but the people who come to this site via a mobile device (and more than half of internet traffic is now on mobile devices) don't convert (become customers).
The business is ripe for being taken by someone else. The second comer has the benefit of having the model already worked out. He's just got to scale it down, and he'll take any business the first business could have had, and everything that follows from this.
If I'm my friend, and I value my job, I say to my bosses, “Holy crap, we're leaving a lot of money on the table, and if we keep doing this, some second comer is going to steal our business, and we'll both be out of a job.”
And if I'm my friend and I do this - and make sure the owners know my contribution - I build the value of my company, and make myself more valuable within the company, and make more work for myself, or the development team that I will head as the company grows. It seems a win/win.
But this requires me to think of the value I can add. And that's the point. Where can you add value? And if you are not sure, and you want to hash it out, I'm the man to help you. An e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org will get you started.
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