I was an early adopter of Tablo and have had mine since they were first available to the public in April 2014. I’ve been fairly happy with it, and understood at the time that it was a new product with a lot of untapped potential.
I am impressed on how you have evolved the product so far in such a short timeframe. However, I think there are opportunities that are being missed by you that you should consider.
I’m willing to bet a large Timmie’s (Canadians will understand) that a large number of people that have adopted Tablo have similar characteristics: 1) they hate Telcos, and 2) have a large amount of technical acumen. I would also suggest that many are probably in the software industry from the looks of the responses in many of the forums.
We want this product to succeed. We enjoy seeing it evolve - it’s part of the fun, it’s not just about having a “working unit”. We enjoy the feeling of contribution. However, I am getting a little tired of seeing “it’s on our roadmap - stay tuned!” as a response to many of the same feature requests over and over again.
As a software professional (ok, I don’t code any more but I’m still in the profession) I believe the worst thing you can do is ask someone’s opinion (like in a survey) and not act upon it or give a realistic timeframe of when things are going to be delivered. I see the same requests now (mass delete, AC3 passthru, pull shows off of Tablo, migrate to another Tablo/hard drive, remote signon, etc.) that were asked for last year and we were told then (as we are now) to “stay tuned!”. I, like many others, am frustrated with this response.
Unfortunately for you, there is now competition in the OTA DVR space. Tivo Roamio is now offering $300 lifetime deals that are very compelling. And Silicondust HDHomerun DVR is just around the corner. XboxOne may also be a contender in this space soon with the release of their tuner. I know, they’re all “different” from what Tablo offers in many ways and some aren’t yet released but they all have one thing in common: OTA DVR with a nice program guide, and they just “work” - they’re not for just hobbyists anymore.
In order to stay ahead of the competition, I offer to you the following suggestions in the name of Customer Experience to help you differentiate yourselves from the rest of the pack:
Ask the customer what they want (what a novel concept). Ok, You already did this via the survey, so consider this step done for now.
Publish a roadmap of the features you’ve prioritized and are working on based upon your feedback in 1). At least that way we know you’ve listened to the survey results. Also publish target dates. We don’t need to know the exact date of release - just specify the quarter of the year you plan to do it by. “Second half of 2015” isn’t close enough, but “Q4 2015” is.
Tap into the Tablo community deeper for help. I’m sure the software professionals here, short of writing code, would be thrilled to help define user requirements, beta test features on their myriad of devices, and generally do whatever is asked in the name of moving Tablo forward - for free! And have an official forum where customers can see the features as they mature in beta.
Do whatever you can that is financially feasible to deliver what you’ve set out to do in 2). We all get that you’re a small startup and don’t have a lot of capital for developers, but doing these steps will at least help you prioritize the deployment of your resources.
Go to step 1) and repeat. This is an ongoing process, not a “one-and-done”.
You do a lot of things right but lately I think the ball has been dropped more and more. And there are many other companies on the sidelines ready to jump on the ball and run with it. I think if we see more of the above you’ll get a lot of lifetime subscriptions in the next few months as most of us early adopters are coming “due”.
My last words - a quote from John Kembel, Stanford d.School. He says, “Most failures in industry are not that people can’t solve problems; it’s that they’re not always great at identifying the right problems to solve”.
That’s where customers, if engaged properly, can help you…