Chapter 4: Part 3 – User-Centric

Human civilization has a history of several thousand years, but if you compare the scientific and technological creations of these thousands of years with the new scientific and technological creations in the past hundred years, it is obvious that more have been created in the past hundred years. And what is more obvious is that the new technologies invented in the past two or three decades: computers, the Internet, blockchain, artificial intelligence, etc., have already brought about earth-shaking changes in our lives. Obviously, technology is developing at an accelerating rate.

Picture: Science and technology are developing at an accelerating rate.

The acceleration of technology development has had a profound impact on corporate operations and has changed the way companies operate. Nokia was once the market leader in the era of feature phones. This company was the industry leader in terms of word-of-mouth, product quality, scale, and company management at that time. But due to the acceleration of technology development. The entire feature phone market has been completely replaced by the smartphone market.

This explains the real reason why traditional positioning theory has partially failed. Today more and more competitors are not overthrowing the market position of their predecessors in their original market. The way they use is to overthrow their opponents’ entire market. And what they rely on is precisely new technology and its accompanying new “business model”.

The same situation also happened to Kodak. Their problem was not actually poor internal management but that the entire film market was replaced by digital cameras and mobile phones. Moreover due to the acceleration of technology development this has made the market cycle based on products shorter and shorter. It took hundreds of years for the automotive industry to mature from invention but today it took less than ten years for smartphones to mature from invention.

But on the contrary men, women, rich people or young people in their growth period these user groups will exist for a long time. For Xiaomi if it defines itself as a mobile phone manufacturer even if it becomes the leader in the mobile phone market perhaps within ten years there will be new devices or services that replace mobile phones. On the contrary if you build your business around users your company’s life cycle may be longer.

The phenomenon of technology development acceleration is not synchronized in different industries. At present the speed of technology update and development in IT industries is obviously faster than other industries. This is why user-managed companies have a higher probability of appearing in these industries than other industries. Objectively speaking most industries have not yet encountered such a fast pace of technological updates as IT industries. If you are not in these industries at least temporarily you can breathe a sigh of relief.

But this does not mean that other industries have no pressure. On the contrary a technological breakthrough in one industry often leads to derivative reactions in other industries. For example “quantum computing” is an area where experts are optimistic about technological breakthroughs in IT industries “quantum computing” can greatly improve our computing power The increase in “computing power” in IT industries will have a profound impact on other industries Education is generally a relatively slow-developing field Our school education methods are generally similar to those from a hundred years ago However an obvious trend is that more and more schools are starting to adopt online learning methods If these data and methods continue to accumulate and improve with the support of “computing power” artificial intelligence’s understanding of a learner will definitely surpass human teachers in the future The entire education industry will be completely subverted.

From product management to user management is a trend, but it now looks more like a normal distribution. There are very few companies that are completely technology-driven and do not need to consider user needs. But there are actually not many companies like Apple and Xiaomi that use a single brand to target the same user group in different markets. Most companies are actually in between. Their business mainly revolves around one or two or a few industries, but the management model has shifted to “user-centric” to varying degrees.

As a result, we see today’s corporate environment. Due to the asynchronous development of technology, the specific product development management methods used by different industries or companies, including processes and tools, will be different. Understanding the reasons behind this can help us judge which specific process and method is more suitable for our company and business.

But whether our company is on the fast side of technology development or on the slow side, the overall trend is moving towards a user management model. And because the speed of technological development is exponential, this change may be faster than most people expect. Therefore, one of the core principles of more and more corporate operations today is “user-centric”.

“User-centric” means that most of the work of an enterprise should start with users. Through user research, it is based on a deep understanding of users. And create value for users through products/services and provide a good user experience. And finally let users complete the value recognition process in a way that users can accept.

“User-centric” is not a slogan, it is a standard for managers’ decision-making. In every aspect of our work, we may have to evaluate whether this matter is for the convenience of users or for our own convenience? Is it creating value for users or just completing our own assessment indicators?

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