What DO people want from us Progeeks?

Part of a career is figuring out what you can deliver, what people want/need, and then, well, delivering it.

In an age of changing technology, changing media and changing everything, it's hard to KNOW what people want.  As of the last five years or so I think technology's impact has been especially prominent in changing markets, job, and product – but I don't think what people want has exactly changed.  It's actually more obvious – it's just not always want we expect.

So, what is it people are looking for in their products/services/etc.?  Especially things we professional geeks like to work on and deliver?

People want things fast, they want them now, they want them before anyone else if possible.

This is readily apparent in the impact of the internet, where faster is better, but also in other services: grocery stores returing to delivery, online assistants, instant messaging on our cell phones, etc.

What does this mean for geeky jobs?  A few examples:
* People want their media delivered faster – Downloadable content, webcomics that are daily as opposed to bi-weekly, etc.
* People expect access and fast.  A subscription service or something better give you instant access before you sign up.
* People expect fast resolution to issues.  If you're in tech support or just support, remember this – and it's a competitive edge.

People want things that are good.  When you have the internet age where there's a huge selection, when Amazon.com stocks all kinds of books, when you can try all sorts of songs instead of an album, people can get quality – and want it.

I find this apparent in just watching the competition going on, especially – but not always – in media.  More options, anime now online and diversified, companies engaged in insanely aggressive marketing, etc.

However people's idea of good varies from person to person – and now people have even more selection to find what they want.  In the internet age you need to deliver what people want in the large, convince them they want what you have, or you have to deliver what a targeted market wants.  Hulu and Crunchyroll are the two extremes of this fact.

For geeky jobs:
* Your company (or the meida you produce) had better be something people want, or be targeted to a specific and reliable market.
* Market research now is de riguer for everyone.
* Large-scale projects and blockbusters will be there, but may become less reliable.

As social media has taught us (until we're sick of it), people want intimate involvement in their products, media, and involvements.

This is the basic human social urge, but it's not something we can indulge in anywhere from reading blogs for a company to actually attending webcasts of our favorite authors.  People crave this intiamacy as, simply, we're human.

This intimacy is a huge edge because it not only gets people involved, it also lets companies, artists, etc. learn more about their fans.  It can be a huge edge market-wise, research-wise, and creativity-wise.  Further, those that can work this intimacy into what they do, from recognizing people online to even taking tips or doing special events, they'll have better success.

Some geeky job thoughts:
* People are used to giving feedback and getting it – that's only going to change over time.  Find a way to channel that if your job involves customer contact, and be aware it will probably get more intense.
* I expect more and more participatory media to get popular, and to see some highly experimental stuff like reader-directed novels, etc.
* Your company or your own professional service better have at LEAST a blog to give people a feel for who you are and what you do.
* Products involving social contact will keep being popular, and good improvements will mean success to those making them.

So, that's what I think people are looking for.  Any thoughts?

– Steven Savage