Let Your Community Fix it!
At ArabCrunch, every now and then, we publish guest posts from thoughtful readers. Today’s guest post writer is Ayman Alkhateeb who works at Oracle as a senior enterprise 2.0 consultant. Ayman is passionate about social media, web 2.0 technologies and is also a mobile casual developer. His opinion here does not represent Oracle. Ayman can be found at his blog or via Twitter @aymankhateeb. (if you want to be a guest writer you can email AC with a title (Guest writer). Guest posts do not necessarily reflect AC’s point of view).
As companies develop new products, whether it is a software, a car, a furniture or even a new type of food, they put their efforts to bring the best to the end user. Unfortunately , “the Best” is a relative concept which usually comes from the vendor’s point of view.
Here comes the power of the community, as people start using any product, they start thinking of additional ways they would like to use the product for. They like the product but want to have additional features! This is very obvious in the software industry.
So people start customizing these products to fit their needs and expectations, which results in more enhancements that the original vendor never thought of. Additionally, different people have different tastes and expectations, which would also result in different customizations and enhancements that could fit any audience, starting from the same base product.
I’ve been a Windows mobile user for 5 years, it was limited in it’s out of the box features, but the powerful community of Microsoft developers, the extensive APIs and the ability to extend anything in the core operating system filled any gaps that Microsoft had. The community has built (both commercially and for free) many programs and system extensions that promoted the OS to a higher level of usefulness for its users.
On the other hand, I became an iPhone owner a couple of months ago, and as much as I adore the device, as much as I’m angry with Apple! You have created a revolutionary device that turned the industry upside down. But yet, no system is perfect.. And in a very strange move, prevented your community from filling your gaps.
Restricting developers from many of much needed access to some system resources. I find it very awkward if I need to add a reminder or alarm in my custom application I would need to send it as a push notification through the Internet! I can’t add my alarms to the system notification queue! And there is no way to extend, override, or customize a system behavior. So, limitations cannot be fixed! of course this is with the legitimately developed applications!.. but Jailbreaking the device removes all those limitations and brings the power of a very skilled community that developed some incredible extensions to the OS, such as inline spell checker when writing emails, scroll bars, true multitasking ( keep applications running in the background ) .. and hundreds of great applications that can never be done in a standard system ( non-jailbroken ).
Such extensions enhance the product in an incredible way and extends its life cycle by keep bringing new extensions and capabilities to the product from its enthusiastic community.
Strangely, Apple totally ignores the community power, the device is still great, no limitation in the hardware or design. Limits are only forced by Apple on the developers! but as IT and Communications market is changing fast, such limits could mean that Apple’s device would lag behind other innovators that are coming strong to the market such as Google Android!
I don’t know, maybe because I see and touch what the community power could do (I’m an E2.0 consultant!) but I think this is a big mistake from Apple! Unleash the power of your loyal community, let them extend your system as they like it to be and let them enhance your product without limiting their creativity. Let the community fix your mistakes, this would definitely empower the iPhone and extend it’s competitive life much further, and turn the creativity of your community as your leader in the competition war !
Please let your community fix it!