The 'Killer App' That's Missing From The Web

I know, everyone claims to have identified the latest ‘killer app.’ But my killer app is different. It’s the most sophisticated software package ever conceived and, rumor has it, it was written in just seven days. (Which explains why it’s still a little buggy.)

You can immerse it in water, it will run when the power is out, and can safely be called ‘intelligent.’ Yes, O swift ones, my killer app is people.

(The way things have been going at the US Patent Office lately, I think I have an outside chance of getting a patent on my killer app idea. So if you’re a person, and you like to log on, expect to hear from my lawyer.)

What’s my point? In the early days of the ‘net, there was some relatively simple technology and whole lot of interesting people. In more recent days on the ‘net, we have heaps of increasingly sophisticated technology…but where have all the people gone?

The problem is, in my view, that the technology is obscuring the people. Worse, we are lulled into believing that if we get the technology right, we won’t need the people at all.

After all, that’s the way it works in the ‘old’ industries. You automate your manufacturing plants, ‘downsize’ your employees, and everything is just peachy.

But if you think the same rule applies to the ‘net, you’re making a big assumption. You’re assuming that just because technology can successfully replace people offline, the same must be true online… I don’t think so.

I’m not suggesting that you don’t need high-tech to create a successful online business. I am suggesting that the presence of technology does not mean you can opt for an absence of people.

After all, a thousand and one advertising and marketing experts will happily tell you that the key to sales is through creating relationships. And if you think you can persuade your customers to form a relationship with technology, good luck to you.

Briefly, let’s create We sell watches online. Lots and lots of watches. On the home page, we’ll do two things.

First, we’ll show our top-selling watches with a one-click link to the order page. Second, we’ll show people. These people will be our employees and our customers. In fact, we’ll bring our ‘feedback’ and FAQ function right up front.

In real time, but moderated, we’ll have conversations happening between our customers and sales people. As a customer, you can ask questions, share stories and chat about watches. Right there on the home page.

As the Chief Ticking Officer of, I won’t just depend on market research or cookies or sophisticated customer tracking and reporting systems. I’ll log on and see what my customers and employees are talking about. With people as my killer app, I get a real-time view of what’s really happening. And you can bet that I’ll respond to what I learn. Every time.

Would Watches-R-you be successful? I have no idea. And the ‘home page chat’ idea is just one way to bring people to the front.

But I do believe that if you bring people up front at your web site, rather than hide them behind technology, you’ll stand a better chance of creating lasting relationships with your customers. And that means more sales.

The killer app is people (and once the patent is approved, they’ll all be mine).

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