Conformity and Innovation

Conformity and Innovation

I am not a big believer in conformity. My view of conformity is that it is a means of control. It is a manner in which to ensure that the status quo remains, that the population does not question and that everyone has the same information available to them.

Think of the educational system. From grade school through to the end of high school, we learn the same information. We are taught to do things the same way. We are told that school develops and reinforces social skills. We are told to play nice and not to stand out. Don’t be an individual, teamwork is the only way. Why is that? Because it is a means to an end. Now don’t get me wrong. I believe education builds knowledge. I believe school can teach a lot of valuable life lessons. But I also recognize that there is a certain mold that students are forced to subscribe to if they are to succeed in school.

Have you ever heard a student say, especially in grade school, I finished my work early but my teacher told me I cannot progress farther and must wait for everyone else. I have and I think it sucks. Here is a student trying to advance themselves and the existing establishment is saying “You need to wait for everyone else”, which to me is the same as saying “You’re not conforming”.

Now let’s fast forward a few school years and give a prime example of what non-conforming can do. I think a lot of people have seen the movie about Facebook. There is a particular scene which really drives the point home – it’s the scene where Zuckerberg is hauled in front of the committee at Harvard in an attempt by the school to discipline him for his actions. It’s obvious what they were attempting to do – force him to conform. To tell him- “what you did is not nice and you need to be reprimanded”. I think most people were shocked at his response – essentially telling the establishment he did them a favor. But why was anyone surprised at his response? Innovation doesn’t happen by following the status quo. Creativity is not created by listening to what you’re taught. It’s by doing things that you’re not taught.

The willingness to go outside the norm, to question what you’re told and to push the boundaries is what enabled us to create the world we have today. Not willing to conform is in essence the same as being willing to innovate. Imagine if Zuckerberg had instead just agreed. His reprimand might have left him feeling dejected and it might have been the last straw that quashed any innovation and creativity he had. And then we wouldn’t have what we have.

Conformity is innovation’s enemy. Don’t forget it.

As always, don’t be a stranjeR, be on ranjeR

The stranjeR

What is a stranjeR you might ask? It’s not someone you don’t know or have never connected with because then it would just be spelled stranger. Basically, a stanjeR is someone who has contacted you via the telephone that you wish to keep track of but that you don’t necessarily want to add to your contact manager.

This can apply to the spam calls we all receive informing us we’ve won a free cruise, the telemarketers trying to sell us newspaper subscriptions or anyone else whose call you wouldn’t answer if you knew who was on the other end.

Additionally, a stranjeR can be your car dealership that calls you for maintenance, your cell phone company that you call often to complain about service or any other entity that calls you infrequently.

With a normal contact manager, you would have to add these to your contacts to identify them when they call you, which is not ideal and not the best way to manage your true contacts.

With the stranjeR feature on ranjeR, you can effortlessly add the number and a brief description of who the caller is. This keeps your contact list intact with only your real contacts and creates a separate stranjeR list that helps you identify the caller. Additionally, the stranjeR list is shared with all other ranjeR users, which will help create a global database of spam-type callers. Think of it as a crowd-sourced caller-ID feature that will reduce the ability of spammers/ telemarketers to get in contact with you.

Sound intriguing? We think so. And it’s just one of the reasons ranjeR is set to become a true communications manager.

As always, don’t be a stranjeR, be on ranjeR

Selling your vision

How do you recognize that a newly launched product fulfills a need you aren’t even aware of? Innovation comes from identifying a need that fills a gap in current offerings and often times the general population isn’t even aware that the gap exists. I won’t bore you with examples as I’m sure all readers can come up with their own. But filling an unknown need is not as easy as it sounds.

I recently read a post talking about what the best advantage someone could have in starting a small burger stand. Most people responded that it would be the best meat, the best price, etc. But the real answer was a starving crowd – basically looking at the demand side of the curve instead of the supply side. But how do you look at the demand side when it doesn’t exist yet. How do you convince people that they need what you’re offering even though they don’t have the need yet?

The easy answer is patience. Just wait – similar to the Field of Dreams quote “If you build it, they will come”, gaining acceptance of a new product can sometimes be as simple as just waiting for the idea to catch on. The more difficult answer is selling your vision. That’s where great sales and marketing come into play. I’m not saying that using patience completely ignores sales and marketing techniques – what I’m saying is that gaining acceptance for your vision quickly comes from GREAT sales and marketing techniques.

We believe that ranjeR will become an example of a product fulfilling a need that was unknown; the need being a true personal communication management platform that is device and ecosystem independent. And we believe that we have patiently waited, while the product is finalized, for the idea to catch on. But now we are moving to the next level and are confident that we’ll be able to sell our vision. Wondering how? Stay tuned to find out.

As always, don’t be a stranjeR, be on ranjeR!

ranjeR is no longer a stranjeR!

With the imminent launch of the new communication manager, ranjeR, on the Playstore, we figured it was time to start sharing information on what ranjeR will do for you. Over the past year, we have been building a truly unique application that not only integrates features that currently exist in the marketplace, but also introduces some new ones that will simplify your life on your mobile platform (and your non-mobile one as well).

Information related to individuals and businesses continues to expand at an exponential rate but our time is still limited to 24 hours a day. How do you keep up? One way is to just put your head in the sand like the proverbial ostrich and just ignore everyone and everything. But realistically, who can really afford to do that nowadays unless they want to live on a remote island and go back to our hunter-gatherer roots?

About two years ago, we recognized this increased burden that we voluntarily place on ourselves and that keeping up was getting more difficult and time consuming. From social media to spam, we are left to constantly manage all our access points, diminishing our free time in the process. Given this burden is voluntarily accepted by all of us, our initial vision was to give clients the ability to disconnect once in a while when needed. Basically, the ability to say I’m unavailable and I mean it. Which leads us to the first unique feature of ranjeR.

ranjeR builds on the basic contact management premise with the ability to inform your contacts (by the way, the ranjeR user is called Me and Me’s contacts are called Yous, pretty simple) of how you are currently reachable through a pretty simple user interface. Essentially, red means not available and green means available and a user can specify how they are available. – i.e a home number, work email, home email, text, Facebook, etc. or any combination thereof. This means that a user can inform all their contacts that they’re temporarily available on a different phone number while travelling or that their work email no longer exists as they left their job – there are an infinite amount of uses and it’s all done through a simple, yet powerful and effective interface. And with the group functionality, a user can post their status as available for friends and unavailable for their work colleagues.

Simple math proves the benefits of ranjeR – Look at vacation time. 2 weeks a year of uninterrupted down-time to unwind, de-stress and relax. Our inability to inform people we are unavailable – essentially you can contact me but don’t expect a response – has basically cost us 336 hours a year of stress free downtime. And ranjeR will give it back!

Additionally, ranjeR automatically updates the user’s contacts with any updated information the user provides. So if a user changes their email address or their phone number or any contact point (including social media aliases), the user’s contacts will automatically be informed. You no longer need to send out a blast email or text or update to tell people. Just change it on ranjeR and everyone you are connected to will know.

Stay posted to learn more. And remember, don’t be a stranjeR, be on ranjeR!