Growth5 Blog

Thursday, April 16, 2009

HP Launches Gabble & Why Beta Works

HP recently launched Gabble.

What is Gabble?:
Gabble is a private, web-based service that enables you to connect with important people in your life using video. Gabble has many cool benefits:

Private: Only those people invited to a private group can view videos in that group.
Easy: Simple registration and no download required
Flexible:You can use just about any computer or mobile device to record and view videos.
Trusted: Your video service will be managed by HP, one of the largest trusted IT companies in the world.

From the NYT:
...unlike Google’s YouTube service, which is geared to sharing with the masses, only people invited to your Gabble group can view your videos.

H.P. thinks that its orientation toward privacy will appeal to families uncomfortable making their home videos public and to businesses that want to use videos as a collaboration tool.

Of course, you can tweak the privacy settings on YouTube or Facebook to do much the same thing. But H.P. says that defaulting to private videos makes life easier on the average person. Make of that argument what you will.
HP is testing a variety of online, "cloud-like" services to see what sticks. If they "go viral and take off quickly" they will support them, if they don't, they will take them down quickly. This video experiment could drive HP's networking and storage gear businesses.

This is another example of how the scalability of the Internet allows a company like HP to test business concepts for a period of time relatively cheaply and if they take off, great, if not, they move on to other ideas.

Sure, HP can put more money towards these "test" projects than a majority of companies out there, but in a lot of cases these "tests" can be conducted on a small budget.

Test/Beta is a great way to see if your idea has legs without blowing through your whole budget. Beta allows for immediate feedback from your audience so you can adjust your product on the fly, find out what specifically the audience is enjoying about your product (and what they're not), what price points work in what combinations, can the product be distributed better, what marketing is being responded to, etc...

We tried this "test" launch with one of our portfolio companies awhile back and although the economy/bailout has hurt the company's overall success, without the test a lot more money would've been lost going down paths of development that we now know would've never worked.

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