Learning from "side effects"

One of my startups iPolipo is currently in controlled beta. We are excited about all the feedback that we have received so far from the users who are participating in this program. We will be announcing public beta VERY soon.

What we are promising with iPolipo is that we will streamline scheduling meetings with people outside of your organization. Within the organization, the problem is sort of solved (that’s what we thought) as many organizations use a solution like Microsoft Exchange. So, we never focused on making an offer to organizations to use iPolipo within their organizations.

While we learnt a number of things in this controlled beta phase, we learnt about a “side effect” that both Hari and I had never anticipated. A few of the controlled beta customers were using to schedule meetings more within their organization than with outside members. Reason: all their members were using Outlook on the client but they had not invested in Microsoft Exchange. One organization was considering investing in Microsoft Exchange mainly because they had a calendar sharing problem but realized that even with Microsoft Exchange, the calendar sharing problem would still exist for when trying to schedule meetings with external members.  Now with iPolipo, they were solving both problems – internal scheduling and external scheduling.

This was big news for us and this opens a market that we had not planned – the number of small businesses who are using Outlook and have a calendar sharing problem. We are thankful for this “side effect” and this one feedback has already provided a great ROI for our “controlled beta” exercise.