Sunday, January 22, 2006

Who are you?

Its all too easy for a company to loose track of just what its customers want. Without customers your nothing. As a Product Manager this should be one of my top (if not the top) concerns. It should be the thing I’m thinking of when I go to work each day - what do my customers want?

As if I needed reminding of this there was an interesting interview in last weekends Financial Times with the founder of Boden - a niche mail order clothes retailer that is based a short distance from where I live in London. (Subscription only I’m afraid.)

Boden know who their customers are. They really know them. They know what style they like, why they buy mail order, who buys, their income and much more. There is a lot of competition in clothes retailing so this company would not exist if it didn’t know and understand its customer.

I wish I knew my customer half as well. It is difficult getting to know your customers but maybe I should redouble my efforts.

And that brings me to this blog. Who are my customers here? Who are you the readers?

One the one hand it doesn’t matter. This blog is by me, largely for me. The writing of it is the valuable bit, I’m trying to make sense of the world around me.

But I do wonder about who my readers are. And occasionally you surprise me, a comment on the blog, or an unexpected reader emerges. So, what do I know about you?

Blogger has their stats switched off but I do have three sources of information on my readers:
  • Site meter gives me some basic stats on my readers

  • The picture of me in the top right comes from my website so I can see downloads there, and some of you go to my website after reading the blog

  • Conversations with people who read the blog

So what do I know?

You are mostly British, the second largest group of you comes from the US. Surprisingly Norway takes third place and although Norwegians are far behind American’s they are a long way ahead of everyone else.

Over 50% of you use Firefox. Either, this means that Firefox is taking market share generally from Internet Explorer (40% of you) or my readers are biased towards Open Source - my money is on the latter. (For the recond, I'm a Firefox user too - maybe I'm distorting the figures?)

Although this doesn’t extend to you OS, 92% of you use Microsoft Operating Systems, 4% of you are on Linux and just 2% on Mac OS X.

I know some of you read me via RSS but I don’t have any stats on such readers, it seems weekly visits can be anything from 40 to 360. Just what is a visit? Do search engines robots get countered? How long do you have to stay to count? And what do you do when two different counters give you widely different figures?

So, I have an idea about how many of you there are, and an idea of what technology you use but what do you like to read about?

To date I haven’t worked that out. Once or twice your comments have surprised me, things I thought nobody else would be interested in have had you logging you opinions. Guess that shows I need to work on knowing my readers. A job for a Product Manager!