I’ve been reading about Axis, Yahoo’s new browser extension.  And I was sufficiently intrigued to visit the site and watch the demo.

I quickly realized that Axis was not for me; it delivered no functionality that I needed in order to make my life a little more productive, profitable or fun.  I’m afraid that too many people at too many companies, when developing new products, fail to put those products through the same test.  Or, they make up benefits that most people won’t even consider as a real benefit in the real world.   “This could simplify life for people with three arms!,” they may say.  Few people, of course, have three arms.  Similarly, Axis can be used if you’re looking to see what’s trending…but how many of us really use the Internet to see “what’s trending?”  Yes, I know…social marketers may want this functionality, but there’s already a great tool out there to help you figure out “what’s trending:”  it’s called Twitter.  And where Axis brags about its ability to figure out what you’re seeking before you finish typing it, it’s called predictive typing…and Google’s Chrome browser has had it for some time.

Businesses have a responsibility to themselves and their customers to play devil’s advocate and answer whether their Great Idea really solves a problem or fills a need that their target audiences really have.  Because if it’s just a Great Idea without a real commercial application, you might want to backburner it and work on stuff your customers and prospects really need/will use.  (Yes, I know there are exceptions to this line of thinking:  Apple, under Steve Jobs, is Exhibit A.  But how many Steve Jobs are truly out there?)

When working with clients and prospects, I tell them, “I’m willing to stipulate you have jim-dandy technology.  I don’t care.  I care about how that technology will make the people who use it more productive and profitable.  How will it get them home earlier at night?  And how will it let them sleep more soundly when they get there?  If you can answer those questions, you have a good product and a good story.”  From my perspective…and I could be wrong…Yahoo can’t answer those questions about Axis.  When they do, I’ll take another look.  Until then, I’ll post this using Chrome.