Using controlled leaks to test the waters

So maybe this isn’t really anything new or mind blowing, but while stretching after my run today I started thinking about how it’s a shame that Sony and their products are loosing ground. Now don’t ask me why I started thinking about that while stretching… I just do, cause I’m a geek when it comes to thinking about gadgets! Like Paul Miller I believe they could really hammer out a great product and slap on the Walkman logo and have a hit… unfortunately they seems unable to actually create anything consumers desire – except for maybe their line of Vaio computers.

Now because of my PR/marketing interest I started wondering if companies couldn’t actually use broad consumer feedback while developing new ideas. I know there are ways to get consumer response, but in the tech world it seems it’s usually not gathered from the early adopters, whom Id think you’d like to get a hold of.

Obviously some companies have successfully taken their brands online on Facebook and use social media to gauge consumer interest in the brand… but why not take it even further. Why not actually “leak” information about upcoming products that aren’t finished yet to see if there is any interest in them at all. Now take a site like Engadget or This is my next. These are sites who’s readers are all well informed of the gadget market, and mostly early adopters. Send them a mockup of what you’re working on, and you’ll get tons of helpful responses. Just take a look at the comments for Microsoft’s presumed Courier concept.

There might be some anti-competitive reasons or a desire to keep your products a secret that would stop you from doing this as a company, or possibly some legal restrictions if you’re incorporated. I don’t know since I’m not a lawyer, but if someone knows I’d love to be enlightened.

Obviously this approach would require that your company has a certain fame, as you might not otherwise get anyones interest.

In case of smaller companies I believe the same effect can be had by putting your project on Kickstarter.

Just my thoughts on a monday night after a long run.