"Ok, But What Are They Going to Think?"; Facebook, Others Try. Racing Needs to

Good day race fans!

Yesterday's pop quiz generated a little bit of discussion; mainly regarding the Gulfstream Park Super High 5 which did not have a winner - because only four horses finished and it was impossible to have a winner - that carried over to the next race.

There was the customer point of view (it's silly and unfair), versus the racetrack/insiders point of view (it's a rule!).

The point being made with the quiz, and in other facets of this blog, is that the relevant part of these things is that someone, somewhere makes a policy, or creates a rule, that never asks "what are our customers going to think about this?", before implementing it.

This is not only a racing phenomenon, it's seen in a lot of places.

Here's a machine for a multi-million dollar laser, used in heavy manufacturing (courtesy, this is broken, a TED talk).

For anyone who ever worked in a plant or mill, this is a common sight. The buttons that are used all day are smudged, and there are dozens of unused buttons. The person who designed this machine is probably a very smart engineer with good intentions, but he or she never used this machine. If they did, the smudged buttons would've been bigger, and/or half the buttons eliminated.

Companies often do not have a proper buffer, or second set of eyes, which is end-user or customer related.

In racing this problem is enhanced because the business is about horse lovers, and investment in farms and hay trucks, and bloodstock prices and just about everything else. The people making betting policy are (in large part) from a different, non-end demand area of the sport.

"Yeah, but what is a customer going to think?" They just don't know, because they aren't every day customers.

Many companies counter this strategically, in design, end use, product testing and other ways. It's a vital part of a firm's growth.

Facebook is doing fairly well, of course, but to grow they are going to need to get more people in emerging markets to join their platform. The issue, is that unlike in Canada and the US where broadband and wireless speeds are lightning fast, in many parts of the world they are not.

Enter 2G Tuesday's. Each Tuesday for an hour or so, Facebook engineers and employees will create profiles, upload pictures and be a general user of the platform they work with each day, all in molasses 2G.
The initiative is designed to help employees empathize with users in booming markets like India, Thailand, and much of Latin America, but also to help them work out what they could improve about the app to make it more usable on slower connections. "They're going to see the places that we need to improve our product," Alison said
This sign maker never had a roadside emergency
It's not up to customers in low-speed countries to dial up Mark Zuckerberg and tell him their platform is too data rich. It's a part of Facebook's structure to figure out what the concerns are before they launch.

When Woodbine is negotiating deals with governments and horsemen for a share of takeout to go to purses, they have to ask "what will this do to our customers when we have to payout lower prices on some tracks?" Let's think about this for a moment and come up with a better way.

Gulfstream has to ask, "what will our customers feel if we have a bet with five horses needed and only four finish?" Let's analyze this for a second here.

When racing starts asking themselves those questions before implementing policy, customer retention will be in a much better place.  

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