Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Swine Flu? No, Feature-itis!

Last week I attended a planning meeting, where I heard the term Feature-itis!  Not something you hear every day however it sparked a thought, could feature-itis indeed be the disease that culls numerous technology start-ups every year?

What's Feature-itis?
Feature-itis is a disease that's rife in technology start-ups, symptoms begin at an early stage and can be difficult to diagnose until it's too late.  Many start-ups, in my experience, seem to begin around the idea/vision/capability of one person, this in itself is not a bad thing. We only need to think about the multi-million dollar empires built around Richard Branson's and Sir Alan Sugar's ideas and vision, for example.  However the problem starts when this vision does not follow the basic marketing principle of creating and delivering goods and services that meet and exceed the needs and wants of the consumer.  Creating a particularly acute case of Feature-itis as it means you are creating, building and deploying features, and in some cases products, that no clear demand has been established for.  

One of the first symptoms is when you hear phrases like 'we can create/build/deliver that feature, so we should someone will want it, I would!"  These words are enough to strike fear straight to the heart of any crusader against this pandemic as it means the occurrence of a nasty symptom, that of 'direction infection', where the suffers lose direction in what they are building and who their target audience is. Recovery is possible although rare.

Is there a cure?
The good news is feature-itis is treatable with the right marketing intervention, although the path to recovery can be a rough one.  It's critical that the marketing influence in these start-up organisations realises the symptoms of Feature-itis and intervenes quickly to avoid further infection.  
The development of new products/services/features needs to be assessed not only in terms of internal capability but also, and in some cases more importantly, in terms of end-user demand and established behaviours.

Critically, the question needs to be asked 'does this development fit/compliment the organisation's core proposition?' if the answer to this question is No or at best maybe then market analysis should be conducted immediately and processes need to be developed to make sure a consumer/market need is identified before the product/feature is completed and presented to marketing to do something with. 


Even though the future for a start-up with Feature-itis is not always bright and can lead, at worst, 'direction infection', this is not always the case.  There are some instances were innovation has been disruptive enough to change behaviour, we only have to look at cases such as the iPhone, Twitter, MySpace etc.  Twitter and MySpace are especially good examples as they did not have the large brand backing that the iPhone did.  There is no doubt that there are exceptions to the rule, as with everything, however in order to avoid a Feature-itis outbreak in your start-up business you need to stock up on marketing expertise and vitamin C!

Monday, 8 February 2010

HulloMail™ takes its BlackBerry smartphone application to a new level with enhanced features and improved usability

New HulloMail application delivers push notifications, auto-message download and introduces ‘Hullos’ - HulloMail’s new two-way digital audio messaging technology

London, UK – HulloMail™ (www.hullomail.com), a developer of smart voice messaging services, today announced a significant enhancement to its popular voice messaging application for BlackBerry® smartphones.  The application (version 1.1.1) is available in both the U.S. and U.K and offers BlackBerry smartphone users a streamlined, highly advanced voice messaging experience, which now includes push notifications and the automatic downloading of messages.  The application is available free of charge on BlackBerry App World™.

“HulloMail is delivering an exceptional voice messaging product to the mobile marketplace with the release of our latest application for BlackBerry smartphone users,” said Andy Munarriz, Founder and CEO of HulloMail.  “Now with the inclusion of push notifications and auto downloading of messages, BlackBerry smartphone users will experience significant enhancements to the HulloMail service – both from a performance and feature set perspective. This new version incorporates our innovative, new digital messaging capability.  We invite BlackBerry smartphone users in the U.S. and U.K. to download HulloMail from BlackBerry App World for free to discover how our smart voice messaging technology can improve and streamline their digital communications.”

‘Hullos’ are short, audio messages that enable users to send and receive voice messages without ever having to make a phone call.  They are free* to send, both domestically and overseas. Hullo technology is compatible across different mobile platforms allowing subscribers to easily talk back and forth for hours, never incurring a single voice call charge, even when exchanging Hullos between continents. 

HulloMail subscribers are also able to quickly play a received Hullo as soon as it appears within their mobile app and will only need to know an intended recipient’s email address to send a Hullo.
In addition to the Hullo feature, push notifications and automatic message downloads, the enhanced application offers support for headsets and Bluetooth®. The service continues to provide subscribers with unique message syncing capabilities with email compliant accounts such as Gmail, MobileMe and Microsoft® Exchange.

*Your mobile operator may charge for sending a Hullo if you exceed your monthly data allowance or you’re roaming. 

About HulloMail™
HulloMail™ develops and delivers smart voice messaging services.  The technology is the fastest, easiest and most flexible way for mobile consumers to manage their voicemail from virtually any mobile device – and the only cross platform, carrier agnostic offering to deliver the power of free two-way digital audio voice messaging, Hullos.  

Follow HulloMail on the Web:                                                

The BlackBerry and RIM families of related marks, images and symbols are the exclusive properties and trademarks of Research In Motion Limited.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Comments from around the Web

We are really pleased, as people seem to be getting as excited about our service as we are, with this is mind we thought we would put together some of the great comments and reviews we have had about the service over recent months, enjoy!

"I just got done setting up Hullomail and surprisingly I like this app A LOT. Very easy to set up, very good graphics and shows a picture next to whoever left you a voice mail or a missed call and very fast at receiving voice mails unlike VVM from Verizon which sometimes took an Hour to come through!" - mjbesen310, CrackBerry Forums

"Hullomail is really good...even sends you an email with a link to listen to your voicemail as an mp3. Definitely recommend to anyone [...]"- luckster28, Vodafone Forums

"The service is called Hullomail and it has been invaluable.  It is a free of charge mobile service which enables recordings of voice mails to be emailed to my gmail or mobileme account. One of the best features is the ability to send a Hullo (voice mail) directly back to a person without having to phone them (Great just to reply to a question that needs more explaining than a txt). If you [...] want visual voice mail download the app and register for the service." - Kristian Toms

Some app store reviews:

"Just wanted to say thanks for making a brilliant app - I wasn't getting any voicemail alerts through Vodafone and unbeknown to me I had 4 voicemail - one of them very important. HulloMail! works just great and I left a post on the Vodafone eForum to advise people how good it is." - Chris, HulloMail user

"I just used your website steps to install hullomail onto my iphone 3gs. Simple, accurate, quick, easy - free. Well structured and thought out, pretty and it works superbly, quickly, no fuss. Great app and service thank you" - Neil, HulloMail user

"I have a BBTour and was disappointed it did not have visual voicemail.....Until I found this app. Its fabulous! It was a piece of cake to install and set up - I love it. A definite must have." - BlackBerry user

"Miffed you don't have visual voicemail on your iPhone? Get this. The email sync feature is great too - you receive an email with the voicemail message attached as a quicktime MP3 and, when you have read it, the corresponding message in the voicemail app is marked as read too. Don't know what it's like when roaming although they seem to have made provision for this." jtorange, iPhone user

"Allows me to manage my voicemails with ease, brillant!" yppirtos, iPhone user

"Brilliant! I went from PhoneFusion to this as this one has push voicemail and displays them in my notification bar. This certainly rivals the iPhone." Glenn, Android user

why not see if you agree with these reviews and try the service for yourself?

Download HulloMail for BlackBerry

Download HulloMail for iPhone

also available for the Android