Flying the Friendly Skies of Product Strength: We Have No iPhone App
Some of the potential customers for Edthena may have also been pitched by other companies with similarish offerings. Those companies, of course, try to skew the differences as our weakness.
I mean, it makes sense. As a competitor, you might take a deficit-based approach and try to point out all the things Edthena doesn't have.
However, if we're doing our job right in developing the product, the differences may actually represent a present position of strength in overall quality or outcomes.
This week I had the occasion to fly Southwest Airlines, and I realized how the company has done a good job pitching it's differences as strengths to its potential customer.
Below, I imagine how I might be pitched (in person) about one airline over another about in-flight entertainment options:
The deficit-based claim about Southwest by a competitor:
On Southwest, they may still have free peanuts, but barely any of the airplanes have entertainment options. A majority of our planes offer in-flight entertainment options which range from satellite radio to on-demand movies.
On other carriers, you do have a smattering of different options across a majority of planes, but the options aren't very good. Some planes have low-resoulution seatback monitors with movies that cost you extra. Many planes only offer a fuzzy, cathode-ray TV playing a recently released movie geared toward a PG audience. And you won't know in advance what you'll be getting on these aircraft.
It's true that in the past, Southwest didn't offer in-flight entertainment. But now we're equipping planes to deliver live TV wirelessly to the device of your choosing. You can watch what you want on a personal screen that—since you own the device—likely meets your standards for quality. We'll email you 24 hours in advance if your plane has the new entertainment options. Oh, and it's at no added cost to you.
Applications for Video
This leads me back to a topic I've written about before: How does a user get videos online?
The deficit-based claim of Edthena by a competitor:
Edthena doesn't have an iPhone app. This is going to make uploading videos a cumbersome and inefficient process. You'll need to take the video to a computer to do your uploading. We built an iPhone app that makes this very easy for you to upload your video directly to our site from your phone.
Others may focus attention on their iPhone app and how it represents that their technology is more advanced or their technical team is more sophisticated. But the reality is that almost everyone is utilizing a specific third-party company to serve as the underlying technology to power this process.
To be honest, we've heard varying reports about the success of uploading long videos on those apps, because it's a lot of data that needs to be moved off the phone. The apps work best for three-minute videos captured at birthday parties, not 30-minute videos of classroom instruction.
And for all that focus on an iPhone app, how do others meet the needs of non-iPhone users? If there is an option, it's secondary and not as good as the iPhone method. Get ready for a Java-based uploader and/or an 18-step method for how to compress your video.
It's true that we don't offer an iPhone app today—at some point we certainly will—but for now we have prioritized the Edthena Video Tool. The Edthena Video Tool is technology built in-house. This means we can manage and control the entire process. We can react quickly to any issues so that we can deliver on the promise of succesful uploads by any user while supporting a multitude of camera devices.
We've learned from our partners that equity of access is a big concern when you start thinking about larger deployments. Not everyone has an iPhone. Our current partners confirm that requiring an iOS device is an unreasonable financial burden to place on their users or organization just to have an opportunity to try the "recommended method" for getting videos online.
The Edthena Video Tool enables any user to upload videos from an iPhone with the same level of drag-and-drop simplicity as a three-year-old camera. There is no first-class and economy-class treatment in our model. Everyone gets an excellent, headache-free experience.
As our company grows, we have plans to support native applications for both iPhone and Andriod platforms. But in the meantime, we'll be staying the course with the Edthena Video Tool and directing our resources toward some really exciting and advanced features for our web application.