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PaulSweeney
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Great "personal experience post". The Tailored clothes issue has one that has been attempted over and over since 1999, and it's never been truly cracked, perhaps for the very reasons you cite, "human error". Even if it starts bad, an automation solution with the ability to iterate is probably (only probably) a better business model. On a personal level, if you do find a good service, let me know. :) I would really love to see a good iphone-camera/video solution, mashed with a motion sensor software for this. How hard could it be? Point the camera at your spouse (putting their head in box a la like.com and off you go.....)..... Finally, the job of "handling the exceptions" is the bit that breaks the margin as you point out. If you can "get into that final 1-5% that are error/failure" you have a real chance of operating profitably. How companies "catch the error" is key. You can "wait until it happens and then react", which is good, at least you are dealing with it, or you can "profile use cases/people" and get pro-active. I suggest that in both cases you were a first time user? or first 5 attempts? Critical to get in there and pro-actively check that everything was done correctly.
I heard someone say at Telco2 conference that "uncapped broadband should be called subprime broadband with the advent of video".....
It would be nice to think so, but the historical power structures are not going to change any time soon IMHO. They have been around too long to "just go away" :(.