Realizing the real world value of social connections



The Waze crowdsourced navigation service also has a service for carpooling. However, Waze has had a problem figuring out how to make the service work. Originally Waze, tried to promote the service based on its economic benefits of having someone help cover gas costs for a trip that they were going to make anyway.

According to Waze founder and CEO, Noam Bardin, Waze earlier this year realized they needed a better formula for connecting strangers willing to ride together in a car.

Some people enjoy commuting with others who work for the same employer or live in the same neighborhood.

Many women, for instance, only want to ride with other women, Bardin said, while other people enjoy commuting with others who work for the same employer or live in the same neighborhood.

‘‘Carpooling is a more social experience,’’ Bardin said. ‘‘A lot of time those of us working in the digital world forget that social connections are often the most important thing in the real world.’’

The lesson for founders from the Waze carpooling service is that customers are not always motivated by economic benefit. If you are developing a service you really need to understand what non-monetary factors may influence customers to try out your service. Clearly social connections will play an important role in any real world service. That’s very easy to forget if you spend all your time in front of a screen instead of in front of real live customers.

Adding a social connection feature to your service doesn’t mean you are competing with Facebook or Instagram. Social has become a vital ingredient to all products, just as AI is in the process of now becoming a necessary ingredient.

But whether you include social or AI in your product or service it needs to be baked-in, not pasted on top of your product as an afterthought.

A good exercise for founders developing a new product is to understand what besides financial gain motivates your customers and how can you harness that motivation to connect with customers.

Author: Mentorphile

Mentor, coach, and advisor to entrepreneurs, small businesses, and non-profit organizations. General manager with significant experience in both for-profit and non-profit organizations. Focus on media and information. On founding team of four venture-backed companies. Currently Chairman of Popsleuth, Inc., maker of the Endorfyn app for keeping fans updated on new stuff from their favorite artists.

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