Why Hackers Are Good For Business

from the make-things-better,-make-users-happier dept

This theme is appearing a lot today… Wired Magazine has an article pointing out that companies should embrace those who “hack” their offerings. While Microsoft is freaking out about hackers modding the Xbox, TiVo has a rabid core of fans who are thrilled that TiVo has let them hack away on the device. Letting people take your product and make it better helps drive the demand for your product. It also open up new opportunites and markets that might not have been there before.

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Comments on “Why Hackers Are Good For Business”

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Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Hmmm... I'm not so sure, Mike

Hacking also allows the hacker to circumvent the business model envisioned by the providing company. For example, Radio Shack had those ridiculous Cue Cats, which they offered for free, but cost money to produce. People who hacked them to use them as simple bar-code scanners, and didn’t contribute to the business model that produced the free CueCat in the first place. The issuing companies lost $.

As a consumer I’m not saying the hacking is wrong. People should be allowed to do anything they want with products they have purchased. I’ve hacked my Tivo, and recommend it. I would say, though, that the hacks may often conflict with the company’s plan, so the company may try to prevent it, or at least not support it.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Hmmm... I'm not so sure, Mike

Well, if the hacks conflict with a business model, then the company needs to reevaluate the business model.

In the case of the cue cats, the hacks created a ton of new uses that a smart company would have tried to capitalize on. It was just that Digital Convergence was so blindly focused on their single business model that they got blind sided.

If consumers are doing something that ruins your business model, it just means you picked the wrong business model. Consumers aren’t going to change their behavious. You need to change yours.

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