Contd.. from here…
Okay! Now, let me put on my Product Manager’s hat! As a Product manager, I would certainly pay heed to the above feature requests. But I also need to think of the features that end-user will not normally think of, and also the ones that will make Facebook some money. I have one such feature in mind:
Everyone needs to conduct some surveys at times: from schools conducting end of semester surveys on quality of teaching to companies seeking feedback for a new product they have launched. But traditionally, the response rate is quite low, especially for business surveys. We have an opportunity to add value here by providing a survey-forum. (I know Facebook allows for single question polls; I am talking about full length surveys, and some more.)
How it will work? Creating the surveys will be free for everyone: students, housewives, or general people using surveys for personal purposes or even, business purposes. However, I make a distinction on reaching out to respondents:
- Reaching out directly: You want to send out a survey to your friends, or you have a business with a fan-page with 40,000 followers, and you ask them to fill out a FB survey. No problems! Go ahead and do it for free, and we’ll make money we usually do: by just keeping you and your followers/friends a bit longer somewhere on Facebook.
- FB mailing lists: So, you are planning to launch a new upscale restaurant for Chinese food in downtown San Francisco targeting mostly young people, but are a bit apprehensive about the idea. You want to conduct a field survey, but are concerned about the high costs and low response rate. No problems! Come to us, and we will give you the most comprehensive target list that is possible. We can include people precisely in the age group and geographical area you are targeting. From their recent check-ins, we can help you target people frequenting existing Chinese restaurants. And from their other “Likes”, interests and other information in their profile, we can even figure out their education and income levels if you need that. Of course, this will come at a price, but as you can see, this will be totally worth it!
To improve response rate, we can award varying level of virtual money to all respondents, and some real gifts for some randomly selected respondents. (We can work on how to make virtual money more valuable, but that’s a different feature idea for some other time!)
I found this writing exercise very interesting. Quite often, I keep on noticing things on different websites, which I would like to be a different. On Facebook, the list above is only a partial list of many such small things that I feel, can improve my FB experience. Will have to think a bit hard to recall all of them! Maybe another post, a bit more serious than this one, some time later! But right now, I guess I will follow soon on what I feel can be added to LinkedIn. (And for that, I have much more serious, and important ideas. Surprised that they haven’t implemented those yet!)
Some time back, I had applied to a startup for a Strategy intern position, and as a part of application, I had to answer some interesting questions. One of them included what would I like to see in Facebook. I didn’t want to delay the application, and submitted whatever I could think of in 30-40 minutes (and have sometimes thought of inadvertently). Thought of sharing this on the blog…
What is facebook missing that you would like to see?
I would like to answer it from two perspectives: the end user’s perspective and a product manager’s perspective. Of course, the Product Manager needs to pay attention to what the end user wants too, but very often, for evolving services like Social Media, the end user doesn’t clearly know what he wants, and may end up stating some obvious answers, derived mostly from comparison from other similar services. It’s the product-management that comes up with ideas that gradually become a part of end-user’s experience. For example: How many of us thought that we need to “Like” a status update or a photo posted by one of our friends? Most of the time, a comment like “Kool dude!” or “Nice picture” did the job. And now that Facebook has introduced the concept of “Liking”, it has become an integral part of end-user’s Facebook experience. We are so used to “Liking” now that we have started missing a “Dislike” button!
Anyway, without further adieu, some features I would like to see from the end-user’s perspective. All responses are in voice of a generic end-user, not necessarily me!!
- Personalized recommendations: I have listed what my favorite books and movies are. You even know what I have been doing lately. I have just listed Spanish in my list of languages, and added a couple of Spanish movies in my favorite movies list. You know the tastes of my friends with whom I hang out the most. Why can’t you help me figure out which movie or book I should try out next (a la Netflix)? Or maybe you can send a mail when a theater play that I would love is in town. You exactly know what I want, don’t you? So, why can’t you share your knowledge about me with me? I am even ready to tell you the names of the movies I detested, or the actors I can’t stand if that helps!
- An “Unsubscribe” button: I love to congratulate a friend when he changes his status from “In a relationship” to “Married”, or to tell another how cute she looks in the Chinese dress she just tried for a photo. But what I absolutely hate is that flurry of comments/mail notifications that will follow, because all friends of my friends would like to add a comment too!! In fact, I have stopped commenting on some of my friend’s updates because I know that they have a huge following, and one small comment is going to spam my mailbox for next seven days! I don’t want you to stop the mail-notifications completely, because many a times, I actually want to be a part of the conversation. But can you offer me a simple “unsubscribe” button that I can click as soon as I make a comment, or may be when I know that the conversation has nothing interesting for me? (FB does provide an unsubscribe option for conversation on groups, but not at individual account level)
- Testimonials: I know my friends love me, but I want the whole world to know how awesome I am. Okay! Okay! Not the whole world, just that new, cute girl on the campus, whom I plan to send a Facebook friend request soon! I have tons of recommendations on LinkedIn that describe my professional excellence, but can I have some testimonials from my friends that tell everyone, how caring and/or cool I am! (Even that arcane Social media site Orkut allowed these!!)
For the Product Manager’s take, click here.