Hey Ryan: Which is better immediate or reliable?

(It’s my turn to toss an unanswerable question in Ryan’s direction and see what shakes out of that big brain of his.)

Ryan, I was inspired by something I heard last week. One of our co-workers, David, mused that some of the web 2.0 apps in his opinion had become so extremely ‘current’ that it actually hindered the experience. As an example, would you rather see a restaurant review aggregated over the past few months, or the past few hours…either could be better or worse.

That comment caused me to start thinking about innovation in general. I think a lot about how big companies move slowly and place very large bets, so they prefer reliable inputs. However, more nimble, smaller companies who can rapidly might prefer more immediate inputs.

I thought about my good friend who runs a location-awareness company. They do the pseudo-location on the iPhone and all sorts of other apps. His business makes perfect sense now, location seems to be everything. Oddly though, he started this company in like 2003. At the time, 95% of the phones on the market couldn’t even run an application like this and wireless was in it’s infancy. But he went to a wireless convention in California and saw enough promise that he decided he had to do it, and he had to do it now.

So I guess the question is, in terms of innovation, which is a better input, immediate or reliable? Longer-term inputs are a safer bet, but the longer I wait the more likely it is that someone may eat my lunch.

Leave a Reply