Thunderbird market segments
kent at caspia.com
Tue Apr 27 00:05:59 UTC 2010
I want to try to summarize what I am hearing from people, rather than
focus on a point-by-point commentary or rebuttal that would result in
the kind of pointless long-winded discussion that this list is supposed
to be preventing.
First, let me point out that the only agreed market segmentation is the
"individual" versus the "enterprise". Personally I don't think that is
enough granularity to help truly understand direction, but I'm not sure
continuing that discussion is worthwhile.
What has been emerging instead is a collection of advantages (which are
closely related to features) of a standalone client that Thunderbird
should embrace to be effective. (This is by the way classic "feature
focused versus market focused" product understanding that your marketing
consultant will counsel against.)
I understand fairly well:
1) Privacy ("A desktop client is essential for privacy of the individual
and private mail.")
2) Performance (speed and GUI comfort)
3) Customization ("a comm. client should in theory be customizable more
easily than a hosted webapp")
4) Source consolidation ('giving people access to multiple types of
communications from multiple "vendors" '). Clearly my EWS work is
targeted squarely here.
I understand less well:
5) "Communications have intent, and we need to understand what those
are" Although I think I understand the problem, I am not sure that
there are proposed features that address this, other then rough
categorization means such as tags, filters, and virtual folders.
6) "puts users in effective control of their digital lives". While I
think this is a fascinating philosophy, as we see the embrace of
Facebook and Apple products which are diametrically opposed to this,
there is very little acceptance of this as a value by the public.
I would add to this my own under-appreciated area:
7) Activity dashboard. At least for me, my standard task management
strategy revolves around a few simple organizing schemes that are done
in Thunderbird - favorite folders and starred messages. For most people,
they only have a few places that they go daily to figure out activities
that need followup, and the client should support that well,
consolidating multiple information sources into a coherent scheme of
Finally, responding to "we need to paint a picture of a future version
of Thunderbird that is compelling ... I don't think that's something
that can be done either a) with words alone, or b) in isolation."
I don't see anywhere an attempt to describe "with words" a compelling
vision for Thunderbird. Instead of "with words alone" let's embrace
"with words at least". Maybe that is where I get strange ideas about
what people believe and their strategy. If I don't hear it in words,
then I have to make it up.
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