Fulfilling Needs

In a recent blog post, Rolf Skyberg said:

"The internet is very good at sending messages to and from other humans not near me. We approach new problems and products, the most success will follow when we first ask ourselves:

"am I addressing a basic human need? or am I just doing this for fun? does my work help others engage, express, communicate, explore, learn, and improve their lives or the lives of others?

The entirety of the post, and it is well worth reading, can be found here.  I have always been very intrigued by Rolf’s point of view (one of the several blogs I follow regularly). . . but here, he touched a nerve. 

As I’ve posted, albeit briefly, about IP Commerce in the past I’ve laid out our target partners (Service Providers, Software Companies, Distribution Channels).  You might have noticed that, for a company in the commerce industry, there was an interesting lack of the word "merchant."  This is a fairly important fact about our business.  Our partners work with merchants (either directly or indirectly) and the goal of the IPC platform and toolkits is to simplify this interaction and, simultaneously, allow innovation (offering merchants additional services, integrated solutions, secure processing, etc).

When interacting with partners, however, it is always necessary to consider how technology will impact their customers.  Rolf’s blog reminded me of this. . .So what is it that is the equivalent of a "basic human need" in commerce?

I’ve come up with the list below, let me know if you have additional thoughts to add:

  • Stability (when I run this card or scan this check, something is listening and will respond quickly)
  • Security (when I run this card or accept this tender, I’m not opening myself or my customer up to having their data stolen)
  • Remittance (what I accept electronically, is very close to what I will receive in my bank account)
  • Reporting (if I have any questions, I can look at understandable data to find out the answers)
  • Speed/Service (when I need a new way to get paid, I should be able to get setup quickly)

In essence, a business must transact.  If it is not transacting, it will not be a business for any extended period of time.  This is the basic need.  (As an aside, this is even more of a basic need for the small business with limited capital to float months of slow income.)

And now, ticking about in the back of the quagmire known as my brain, my partner interaction will often be driven by identifying the basic needs of their particular customers.  Knowing these needs will ensure that we are addressing their requirements properly. . .and driving business for all in the value chain.

NOTE:  I realize that this exercise can, and should, be expanded to include all the participants in the IPC ecosystem and not just their customers.  But, blog space is limited and the night grows old. . .

October 29, 2007

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