the idea amplifier

On Friday I was talking to Peter Sisson, gapingvoid’s new client, the guy behind Toktumi and Line2.

We were talking about “The Cocktail Party Rule”– what’s true at cocktail parties is also true in marketing i.e. If you want to be boring, talk about yourself. If you want to be interesting, talk about something else.

Luckily, Peter concurs…

The way I see it, a product is an “Idea Amplifier”. You have an idea about something- phones or whatever- and you build a product as an expression of that idea.

For example, Zappos‘ central idea is not really about shoes per se, it’s about company culture and customer service- “Delivering Happiness”, as its CEO, Tony Hsieh calls it.

Similarly, with Line2 the central idea is not about an iPhone app, it’s about, and I’m quoting Peter here, “What phones could be”.

And what can a phone be? I’m curious to find out. I think we all are.


  1. OK, you asked “what can a phone be?” Immediately I thought:

    1. A doorstop;
    2. A paperweight;
    3. An excuse to sit in your car instead of getting out and socialising with other mothers in the playground;
    4. A homing device/GPS system for your son who’s cycled further than he’s supposed to;
    5. A missile;
    6. A shoehorn;
    7. An excuse to talk VERY LOUDLY when standing in a queue;
    8. A device for spooking people when you say “Hi!” right behind them and they think you’re talking to them;
    9. A teething instrument;
    10. A sun-bed for a mouse (clamshell design preferred)

    But of course, these are far too obvious and passé. Now “what a phone COULD be” is a different proposition all together! Ability vs Possibility … Now let me think …

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