I was recently asked by a friend if he should get his son the new Nintendo DSi. This would be an upgrade from the current DS and also add the photo capability. As I thought about my own son's usage of the device, I said no. Once my son got an IPod Touch for music and now games, he never looked back. While he loves the music, the real reason is because of the App Store and ability to instantly download any game for free instantaneously. While the DSi does have a Wi-Fi connection, the IPod Touch is just so easy and frictionless. And as evidenced by the rise of the Internet and the ability to download movies, music, and games instantaneously, it got me thinking more and more about the fact that we live in the "Now" or "Real Time" Generation. Yes, it has been happening for awhile but we finally have the broadband speeds and ubiquitous connectivity that we craved for the last 10 years. We also have better pricing and better products to be able to download those movies and games anywhere and on any device. In addition, you can just see the rise of Twitter as another example of this new culture of real time. People no longer want to wait for anything any more – if you have something to say, say it on Twitter or Facebook. Products and friends are just a click away.
Sure, we can clearly see the impact of the Now Generation on consumers and new web applications. A substitue product or application is just a click away. If you don't like the user interface, if the product loads too slowly, or if the registration process is too burdensome, you can do another Google search and instantly find a substitute. But what does it mean for the enterprise, for the corporate IT professional and startups selling into these companies. I have always believed that the old way of selling enterprise software products with expensive sales forces and complicated installations is dying. Buyers no longer want you to push software that they may or may not need. They are empowered and can easily do their own Google search and download open source software or fill out a short registration form to trial a web-based app. They, like my own son and his friends, are increasingly seeking instant gratification. They are not just consumers but prosumers who are pulling new products into their departments and potentially into their enterprise. I wrote about this instant gratification in 2006 and it is happening faster than ever. The kids who were in college 5 years ago are the very same ones in the IT department tasked with coding new products. They are used to doing more for themselves, doing their own research, and being able to trial new applications in real time. If you are an entrepreneur selling into an enterprise and don't see this trend now, you will be toast in the future.