Thursday, February 15, 2007

DD Part1 - Know your market

This is the first in a series of posts about my involvement with Digital Deck, being careful not to reveal anything confidential.

I joined Digital Deck in the summer of '05 with Bob DeFeo to help turn the company around. They had been in business since 1999 and had some great technology. But, they hadn't been able to deliver a successful product to the market and were kind of stalled. Bob is a high-energy, charismatic leader. He has a track record of helping small companies find their way, but he didn't have any consumer product experience. So, it was my responsibility to plot the strategic course for the product roadmap.

DD had a closed home network entertainment system comprised of a dedicated server, the MX1000 and a 2-way digital media adapter, the eDeck. It was priced at around $4000 for a 3-room system (1 MX & 3 eDecks) and DD was targeting the high-end home theater integrators (the CEDIA channel). The problem with this strategy was that by 2005, these high-end dealers were primarily installing high definition television solutions. The DD products were standard definition. And, the closed nature of the sytem meant that it was awkward for customers to integrate their own digital music and photos into the DD network DVR system.

So, we either had to change the product or change the market. It was unlikely we were going to get very far with the feature/market mis-match. As I posted recently, it's critical to make sure you understand the needs of your target market in order to be successful.

continued in Part2.

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