There has been a lot happening in the voice 2.0 space recently; and I like where many of the companies in this space are taking their service offerings. As with any relatively new industry, the voice 2.0 space (what I use to define the use of telephony in conjunction with other business systems, processes, services and or applications) is seeing its fair share of success and its far share of hurdles. There is no doubting the value and promise of voice 2.0, however there is a pattern of success emerging amongst many of these pioneering providers, one that has many similarities to LEGO’s, a childhood favorite of many.
What Voice 2.0 Providers Can Learn From LEGO’s
Surprisingly, there is a lot that voice 2.0 companies can learn from LEGO’s (I suspect opens source, web 2.0 among others companies can apply these “LEGO Principles”). These LEGO Principles, like LEGO’s themselves are all about the individual building blocks that are needed in order to successfully build an end product (for voice 2.0 service providers, a profitable business). Now you might be thinking you couldn’t possibly learn anything from a childhood favorite, but you’ll be surprised at how relevant these LEGO Principles are to a voice 2.0
Pick a standard and make a platform
The building block that made LEGO was the “BRICK“, the LEGO piece upon which all other LEGO pieces, kits and sets are built. For a voice 2.o company, the BRICK is their voice services platform. It is the platform atop all of their services, their developers services and their partners services are powered. Before you can dream of voice 2.0 success your voice 2.0 company needs to build a BRICK.
Current Winners: Asterisk
Make all of the pieces work together
As LEGO has progressed over the years all of the different series, kits and sets can work with one another. Your pirate ship set pieces all work with your galatica set pieces. Once your voice 2.0 company has built your BRICK, it is necessary to make sure that all other pieces can work together. This means the creation of a standards based API that allows third party software to seamlessly integrate with your platform. This integration allows your “business voice system set” pieces to work with your “business data systems set” pieces.
Current Winners:Â JAJAH
Give them instructions and templates
With every LEGO set or kit you bought, you received a set of instructions on how to build a various range of things using the set or kit. You could follow the instructions or, like me, build whatever you wanted. There is a combination of canned and imagination. A voice 2.0 provider should take their platform and API and create a few examples of what can be done with your platform when integrated with other platforms. Then give others the instructions on how you did it. You give them the canned, yet inspire the imagination with, “what if we did this?”
Current Winners: ifbyphone
Build a community
LEGO didn’t just build a toy, it built a community around it’s products. Today, LEGO’s are enjoyed by multiple generations, there are LEGO enthusiast groups, four LEGO theme parks and tons of online and offline networking events. For the voice 2.0 provider, the community they need to build is a developer community. A community of passionate enthusiasts that further your platform development, provide examples of what can be done with your platform and even those who build a business based off of your platform. If you have a platform, a way for it to work together with other things, examples of how to do this, but no community, you won’t get very far as you need users in order to survive. Build and nuture a community.
Current Winners: Asterisk
Showcase their work
LEGO eventually stumbled upon a way to showcase the communities work. With the launch of their LEGO factory (their version of an API), they built a showcase section that showed off all of the user creations that were built using LEGO factory.Â Any voice 2.0 provider who wants to accelerate the growth of their community and adoption of their platform within their market place, needs to help promote what is being done from within the community.
Current Winners: JAJAH
Â Allow your platform to be branded
LEGO didn’t just build their own platform into a brand, but they helped others extend their brand and services by allowing their kits and set to be branded.Â That is why there are Indiana Jones LEGO’s and Star Wars LEGO’s. These sets are very valable to their respective owners. If someone approaches you abou branding your services as theirs, take them up on it. Heck, if you are that confident in your platform, approach other businesses you think could benefit from your platform with a co-branded solution, even if you have to pay for it. Remember, there is nothing wrong with being the providers provider.
Current Winners: Broadsoft
So yes, there is more to a voice 2.0 business then adopting some of the things that made LEGO’s a worldwide success, but then again, what did you expect from a children’s toy?