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My take on Startups’ Long Roadmaps

Back in November 2011, Fred Wilson wrote an interesting post on “Long roadmaps”. Good insight, good comments discussion too. Interesting to read about Foursquare development plans by the way.
A month later, I visited a friend in Lille (France) who is building a startup, Biztoo. It is a web service to build relations between local businesses and their customers. For a few months now my friend Guillaume and I, we have been discussing his ideas, what he is building, what he has in mind. Now that the v1.1 is out, he explained to me his vision for Biztoo’s roadmap and where he is heading. V1.2 is around the corner and a text file on his PC has every ideas listed for v2.0: xxx, v3.0: yyy… Step by Step developments and requirements based on the previous additions. 

I was impressed by his ideas defined so early in the creation of the young web service (not even a year old). However, I believe it is hard to stick to the one ideal path founders have in mind. Take the example of www.fab.com: great business with successful story today, but it faced a bumpy road a few months back (Fab Forward: How Fab.com Found a Niche in a Design Deal Social Hub). 

Through a random usage of Shazam, I thought about the “Long Roadmap” blog post mentioned above: recently I used Shazam to find the song below as I am bad at knowing song’s titles and authors!

 

So now regarding this post, what’s the connection between Fred Wilson “Long Roadmaps” post, my friend’s development plans for its growing website, and Shazam? 

As mentioned above, I used Shazam to know the tittle of “Boney M – Rasputin”. That’s when I discovered LyricPlay:

 

I always thought Shazam was great, had a huge potential, was loved by everyone, and generated an enormous positive word of mouth. However, I was never sure how they would turn that great idea into a profitable service considering that I expected most users not being willing to pay for the service (Recently Shazam announced it was bringing back unlimited free music tagging after trying a freemium strategy). 

When I used Shazam’s LyricPlay for the first time, it started to display the lyrics on my smartphone’s screen, scrolling up StarWars Intro style, synchronized to the music, I was excited about the discovery. That’s when it stroked me: when the makers of the Shazam smartphone App created it, they started doing the basic: just the tagging. I would bet they already had in mind all the potential ramifications: iTunes links, social friends’ tags, Artist Tour info, Youtube Videos, and synchronised Lyrics! 

I think LyricPlay is a great experience. Shazam was a good utility to have in his pocket 24/7 but now it is also becoming fun. I guess adding some fun to a business model is never a bad thing to attract new customers and make them have a good time while using the service. 

There are great entrepreneurs out there, they have great ideas and are building great things. We are just at the beginning of some good stuff coming our way; Entrepreneurs minds are flourishing with exciting stuffs we can’t imagine yet! 

Ps: I personally started using Shazam in August 2009. I thought it was a brand new service however it has been running since 2002! Would have you thought?!
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