At the rate that technology morphs and adapts, we as a society are familiar with the idea that the products we know, use and love may one day not be here.  In fact, most of us expect it. Our expectation is that the technology we use will continue to evolve in order to meet our changing needs. What happens if a technology doesn’t evolve though, or worse what if it devolves? It usually is the first sign of dissolution of a company, either in the form of an acquisition or an “it no longer exists”.

 

The challenge for today’s tech companies is to not become the next Blockbuster or Blackberry, and it isn’t as easy as you may think. Technology companies of all sizes, ages and offerings can easily fall prey to the “customer disconnect”. This can happen in a number of ways. One way is changing pricing models mid-stream. Sure, we can all understand when pricing models go up, but when you start with a FREE feature and then remove it, you have problems. Technology companies are able to fill their databases quickly when a free version of the product exists. The risk for a consumer is low and the reward is high. By removing the ability to partake in a product or service without risk, you are changing the overall user experience for a decent number of customers.

 

A current living-breathing example of company who may be headed down this path is Flickr. The platform designed for people with a passion for creating and sharing photography, announced last week that its most commonly used tools will now only be available to paying users. The problem is that Flickr isn’t the only one who can provide those uploading, editing and sharing tools. Anyone can pick from Google Photos, Instagram, Facebook and a handful of others to choose from. Oh, and did I mention that the alternative options are free.

 

The writing may be on the wall if Flickr doesn’t make another shift to accommodate for it’s users needs.

flickr