Jeff Bonforte

Yahoo! Inc.

Anger Drives Innovation
19 minutes, 9mb, recorded 2007-02-28
Topics: Telephony
Jeff Bonforte
Jeff Bonforte was scheduled to talk about the future of VoIP. However, instead of a description of what he calls Telephone 3.0, he delivers an entertaining and typically forthright argument in favor of anger and its power to drive innovation. Bonforte challenges the nerds and dorks of the IT industry to spend less time enjoying problems and to ignite the passion that comes with anger as a way to stimulate innovative ideas and drive the uptake of new technology.

At breakneck speed and with much wry humor, Bonforte presents his belief that anger is the most untapped emotion when it comes to start-ups and innovation. Anger doesn't appear on many business plans and he feels this is a great shame because it's the most important emotion when looking to create a new product or service. The reason is straightforward: angry people approach a problem with more heightened feelings. They can then equate a solution to the problem with relief. If the answer leads to the end of anger, it's likely to be a winner in business terms.

This is why most dorks and nerds fail to launch start-ups that last. The technology is good and the applications can be fun but they approach a problem the wrong way: to a nerd, a problem is fun. It just doesn't make them angry enough.

Product managers worrying about adoption curves for their new application should stop concentrating on features and look to the emotions and the experiences of their customers. Consumers change behaviour through anger. Skype, for instance, tapped into a general feeling in the market of "I'm angry at my telco".

Bonforte ends with a hint of the areas to look at for consumer anger or confusion. It's a matter of the usual suspects: banking; areas in which Microsoft is active; dealing with the opposite sex; and, of course, anything to do with traditional telcos.



Jeff Bonforte is the senior director of Yahoo!'s Real Time Communication Product Management, which includes Yahoo! Messenger with Voice and Yahoo! Voice. In this role, Bonforte oversees the product and business operations for Yahoo!’s instant messaging and voice initiatives. He is also responsible for enhancing and extending Yahoo!’s voice platform across Yahoo!’s network of services.

Prior to joining Yahoo!, Bonforte was president of SIPphone, Inc., a leading VoIP startup where he championed the development and launch of the Gizmo Project, a free internet telephone. He was also senior vice president for Larry Ellison’s New Internet Computer (NIC), where he managed all business development and marketing for the startup.

Bonforte holds a B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles. When not sitting in front of a computer, he is an avid free fly skydiver.

This free podcast is from our Emerging Telephony Conference series.

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Photo: (duncandavidson)