I would want to assess the existing stereo market and find the area we can focus the new stereo. Along with scanning the competitive market I’d want to look at the target market for the stereo…
Competitive market includes a number of brands like Bose, Harman Kardon, JBL, etc. that partner with automotive companies such as Mazda, Subaru, VW, etc. Competing with them could be difficult. There are also stereos like Sony, Pioneer, Kenwood, etc. that are more geared toward the after-market vertical bought by consumers.
Depending on which approach we take the pain points and needs could be very different. Let’s say the interviewer says let’s go for after-market consumers.
What are the use cases of these consumers?
1) Users want premium sound quality
2) Users want to be able to connect after market speakers and sub-woofers
3) Users want connectivity with a variety of devices (e.g. mobile phone, non-phone media devices, TV, GPS, and possibly even video game consoles)
4) Users want the newest and best audio tech (e.g. early adopters of any new features car play, voice control, etc.)
5) Users want to be able to control volume, station, song, skip, repeat, shuffle, etc.
Use case 1, isn’t something that is new or better than competitors. They all have systems providing premium sound. Use case 2, isn’t new either and is table stakes so that’s required.
Use case 3, has some flexibility in new as not all systems provide access to car play, video, etc so we can play here but it could be costly as we would have to pay apple and other major device makers to have access to their systems
Use case 4, let’s focus on this use case and think of new ideas within it.
Use case 5, table stakes as all stereos should enable or they won’t be able to compete
Idea 1 – a new health connected stereo that uses your smartwatch biometrics to increase the volume, determine the songs, etc based on how you’re feeling. (e.g. your heart rate is pumping and weather is crazy so the stereo senses the stress and decides to play something calming via Spotify)
Idea 2 – smart stereo that is socially connected and pulls in new songs from other users like you based on saved songs on your devices to help you discover new music. (sure Spotify does this but the stereo system could be more expansive by connecting all users across all music apps using the stereo system)
Idea 3 – smart stereo that determines where you are traveling based on common routes and times of day that you travel them (leverages google maps, imaps, Waze) and creates playlists that end when you arrive based on the traffic and eta of the route so you don’t arrive in the middle of one of your favorite songs
Looking at these ideas I would want to assess the impact, cost, and risk of developing each to prioritize which to build:
Idea 1 –
Impact is medium, early tech adopters are probably high smartwatch users so a medium to large portion of our target segment would benefit.
Risk is large, not all users want to have music that aligns with their biometrics and the stereo could play music that contradicts what the users actually want driving down adoption and popularity.
Cost is medium, there are noise control services that adjust based on road noise so we could leverage those services to expand to biometrics but it would require access to biometric data (APIs could cost)
Idea 2 –
Impact is large, users are early adopters and like new tech. This is new and leveraging popular features from existing services to create a greater network of data
Risk is medium, is getting access to the music services which also plays into cost but also not a major risk given that we can find a number of smaller players to prove the concept. Stereo shouldn’t require any additional risk in terms of size/fit for cars so any car should be able to fit similar to standard stereo specs.
Cost is large, we would need to partner with Spotify, iTunes, Soundcloud, and other music services. If we can’t get access to all stores/services we could find smaller services to get started and prove the concept which would help lower our cost. Once concept is proven then we could go back to the bigger players with proof and they’ll want to join us which will give leverage to keep costs down. Effort to build could be expansive so t-shirt this as a large effort.
Idea 3 –
Impact is small, most users probably don’t have a big issue with arriving at their location in the middle of their favorite song
Risk is medium, difficult to gauge all the factors impacting the length of travel and time of arrival.
Cost is medium, would need to sync with maps services and assess the time of travel and then shuffle the songs in the users library to ensure the total length of songs ends at approx arrival. Would require continuous update and change as the flow of traffic, speed of travel, etc changes throughout the trip.
I would select idea 2 as the feature/stereo to build.