Tech companies,
forget innovation —
you need quality

A lesson inspired by everyone’s favorite internet provider

I just saw an update on LinkedIn, and when I saw where this guy works, I almost spewed smoothie all over my keyboard: the “Comcast Silicon Valley Innovation Center.”

Why was this so funny? Because for Comcast, innovation isn’t the issue — quality is. Would I benefit from them launching geosynchronous satellites above idyllic tropical vacation spots so I could literal-Periscope my snorkeling video to jealous friends back home? Sure. But you know what would make me way happier? Them simply improving their basic services (ensuring I can stream video on Friday night), and their customer support for situations when they can’t.

Now this is not intended to be an anti-Comcast rant; they just happen to be the default telecom oligarch for me and millions of others. So if the point isn’t to pick on Comcast, what is the point? It’s this:

Customer frustrations are the arrows
showing you where to focus

Or put another way, being a tech company doesn’t necessarily mean that innovation should be your top priority — delivering on your basic promise should be. This is true whether you’re an early-stage startup working on your MVP, or a Fortune 500 behemoth like Comcast.

Does Comcast need to hire particle physicists to work on beaming wi-fi through walls? Maybe. Does “Comcast Silicon Valley Innovation Center” sound complex enough to justify a big budget? Definitely. But if they spent that money on the humdrum, laser-and-drone-free activities of laying more fiber, training more technicians, and hiring more customer support, they’d change their auto-complete results for the better.

So whether you’re a big-company CMO or employee #2, find out what your customers are paying you to do — and do that well.

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