I know I went overboard on metaphors in the title (cloud, rain, coffee) but then when you have the last few weeks like we have had at Salesforce.com, its hard to not to have your head in the clouds. I know.
So here is the scoop, if you have been living under a rock: Starbucks rolled out its website MyStarbucksIdeas.com powered by Salesforce.com (Jeff Nolan was one of the first bloggers to pick this up). The press has had nothing but the nicest things to say.
As the software guy, here are my key takeaways:
- Focus on Innovation, not Infrastructure: Starbucks could have spent its own time and resources building out the infrastructure, renting bandwidth and compute capacity etc. but it instead chose to focus on customer feedback and was able to deliver greater value to customers (and therefore shareholders), faster.
- Simple is Beautiful: Starbucks website is really simple to use. A few neatly placed icons tell users exactly what to expect. You can view the ideas without creating a login. Voting and commenting require a login which makes sense.
- Business Value: For the budding technologist who wants to be an entrepreneur – notice how a simple concept forums+voting can become a great product/service. I have often met technologists who are looking for the hard problems to solve rather than looking for simple solutions to real business problems.
If you have an idea to build an entirely new service that customers like Starbucks and Dell should use, come build it on Force.com and market it on Salesforce AppExchange.