2 min read

Faster horses and better Blackberries

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There is a famous story about Steve Jobs on why he didn’t ask customers before they designed the iPhone if they wanted one:

“Some people say give the customers what they want, but that's not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they're going to want before they do. I think Henry Ford once said, 'If I'd ask customers what they wanted, they would've told me a faster horse.' People don't know what they want until you show it to them. That's why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page.”

We follow this philosophy at Videate. If you ask SaaS executives if they think it would be valuable to have computer-generated videos that are always up to date with the latest software release, many would say no. They’d probably tell you that this isn’t something they’ve been asked for by clients or their colleagues.

They’d likely suggest having more people to make videos faster, or perhaps better tools so the videos can be more easily updated. Or they’ll tell you that computer voices don't sound as good as humans.

On the other hand, if you ask most customers trying to solve a problem when they need help or client success and technical support managers who are overloaded with tickets because your onboarding and how-to videos are out of date with the latest version of the software, you’ll likely get a different answer.

Most SaaS companies create more and more “video debt” with every software update, and it’s getting harder and harder to catch up.

If you ask your subject matter experts, instructional designers, or video producers if they enjoy recording and re-recording the same videos every time the software is updated, the answer will be no. They enjoy working on the things that are of higher value, not updating how-to’s, and troubleshooting videos every time there is a new field on a form or an icon moved in the application.

So would more computer-generated videos be valuable to your customers? Why not survey them and find out if videos that are always up to date with every software release would be preferred?

Many of our clients do this as part of their initial implementation and the feedback is always positive. The latest neural voices are extremely high quality, and you’ll likely find out that your customers will be happier with always up-to-date videos covering all of your products rather than a limited set of manually produced videos available weeks or months later.

The answer is not more human resources or better screen recording tools.

Nor is it faster horses or better Blackberries.

It’s the old 80/20 rule.

Automate 80% of the repetitive work so you can focus on high-value items.

Automation is the future of software video production.

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