I've always wondered why Blackberry is still around in such a competitive mobile handset market place? My own experience of them has been that I came across a lot of business people using them a few years ago as 'they're good for reading and sending emails'. Which made sense as asethically they looked very 'business'. But then they seemed to get into the hands of teenagers, culminating in BlackBerry Messenger being pointed to as a fascilitation to the London Riots of last summer. As far as I can make out the reason why so many teenagers own a what is made to be a business tool must have been that all the phone contract shops pushed Blackberry's hard to a teenage audience. And I imagine there must have been some kind of commision or incentive for them to do this. Then the take up of Blackberry's must have reached a tipping point, fasciliated by BBM and the fact if you didn't have a Blackberry, you didn't have BBM and if you didn't have BBM you weren't going to be able to talk to your peers. The short point being that the way I see it the majority of Blackberry's value is tied into the service provision of BBM rather than the actual handset or brand (we saw the problems caused when BBM crashed a while ago supporting this argument). And that if they were smart they'd build and protect the BBM service is all sorts of clever ways rather than worrying about the handsets so much. It looks like Apple have got their eye on this and are already making plays not to be left behind. And Facebook haven't been slow to spot the same trend in real time, conversational, casual messaging.
Another example I'd give in the rise in importance of real time conversation is the new US dating site Nerve Dating. Taking the traditional, and dominant model, of the creation online dating profiles and matches based on profile criteria, and moving to a purely real time conversation based dating service. Users simply create a basic profile and answer the question of what they did last night and from here start to have immediate conversations with other users, forming opinions of who they're interested in and not interested in from these conversations. These are just examples, the potential for more of the current services we depend on being influenced by real time conversation is pretty much limitless.
The over arching thought being that the product is the service. And the service is simply the facilitation of real time conversation.