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Article Neatly Debunks Gee-Wiz Technical Innovations

Alan Cooper of Cooper Interaction Design published an article that neatly demonstrates the difference between useful and useless technical innovation. The article is entitled Goal-Directed Innovation, a term that his company has trademarked.

Cooper cites a television ad where a young man attempts to pick up an attractive woman at a party by sending her a flirty message to her mobile phone via the Short Message Service. He points out the implausibility of the entire scene, and characterizes it as an indication of counterproductive use of technology.

To contrast this, he points to the kind of customer-centric services that Amazon.com offers. He concludes that the individual technical services used to communicate with the customer are not nearly as significant as the overall effect that their customer-service orientation achieves in the mind of a regular Amazon customer.

Cooper makes another valuable point when he says, "I've heard experts say that to make your Web site successful, it should look and act like Amazon's Web site. That is far from the truth. To be successful, your company should behave like Amazon behaves, giving value to your customer at every step of the relationship, and using whatever tools are appropriate...."

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