Over the last six months, the news for Apple Pay has been pretty mixed. While the payments system has grown its footprint internationally and recorded some successes, US experience has been far from stellar.
The key trend emerging is that while US consumers are happy to trial Apple Pay, ongoing usage is disappointing. In fact, repeat usage is declining, as reported here, here, and here (there’s lots more) which must be of great concern to Apple.
These days we’re all under pressure to produce new software, new features and new interface improvements quickly. And the speed demanded by a market of disruptors and startups is ever-increasing.
Within this context, techniques such as agile and lean startup can help immensely to identify critical issues, bring people together in constructive forms and ensure a focus on delivery of software. However, in the rush to ideate, build an MVP and launch, we can still sometimes forget to validate assumptions and fail to incorporate the right kind of user input through selected contextual research. When this happens, sometimes the results can be frustrating; other times they can be disastrous.
Two recent instances have highlighted this. One is well known: Microsoft’s now-infamous Tay AI bot fiasco. The other is virtually unknown but personally frustrating to me: the recent relaunch of the public website for my son’s school Trinity Grammar.
The other night I attended a presentation from Adam Ludwin, CEO of Chain. Chain is a blockchain infrastructure company from San Francisco that completed a USD$30M fundraising from finance industry companies last September.
Adam spoke about how blockchain will transform not just finance but a range of industries where assets can be easily digitised. Here’s my take on some of the key points in the presentation…
A blockchain supports digital assets
Just as the digital revolution allowed for the creation of digital assets such as music, news and movies, it also supports the creation of truly digital money.
the observation that the threat to traditional banking practice from Silicon Valley comes as much from the adoption of new software development practices as from new technologies and disruptors;
the benefits of agile in terms of delivering rapid product innovation;
the importance of being prepared to ‘fail’, ie pivot and re-position; and
the observation that ‘fast fail’ does not necessarily signify ‘failure’ as much as ‘hypothesis testing’ – in other words allowing product design/development decisions to be based on observations and facts rather than assumptions and preferences.