Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about how IoT is connecting the world by giving individuals the ability to create their own personal “enterprises” and optimize their lives. On this episode of the IoT For All Podcast we have Linden Tibbets, CEO of IFTTT. Linden discusses the founding of IFTTT, how IoT can connect the world, and the importance of low-code, no-code integration platforms in driving the adoption of IoT. IFTTT is an online platform that helps users automate and integrate their favorite apps and smart devices, making it easier for them to work together seamlessly.
Linden Tibbets is CEO and founder of IFTTT (a.k.a. If This Then That), the popular low-code no-code service that millions of consumers use to connect and automate the devices and services in their lives. Linden graduated from Santa Clara University, where he studied Computer Engineering. Before starting IFTTT in 2010, Linden worked at the design firm IDEO.
Interested in connecting with Linden? Reach out on Linkedin!
IFTTT is an online platform that empowers you to do more with your favorite apps and smart devices by helping them automate and integrate so they can work together seamlessly. IFTTT is the world’s leading connectivity platform. They help over 600 global enterprises accelerate the digital transformation of their products into integrated services, dramatically reducing their development costs while extending compatibility and lifetime value. IFTTT is the connectivity standard and low-code alternative to building your integrations in-house. Their products have attracted 18 million consumers across 140 countries and served over 90 million activated connections. Enterprises like Domino’s, Amazon, Bosch, ING, and Samsung trust IFTTT for their connectivity solutions.
Key Questions and Topics from this Episode:
(3:20) Target audience
(5:15) Founding story of IFTTT
– [Linden] Starting to see that friction has taken a really long time. But that friction is starting to make meaningful kind of steps down to get to the spot where, ideally it’s, the best interface is no interface, if you can have the security and the confidence without ever signing in, that’s ideal.
– [Ryan] Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of the IoT For All Podcast presented by IoT For All, the number one publication and resource for the Internet of Things. I’m your host, Ryan Chacon. If you’re watching us on YouTube, we truly appreciate that you give this video a thumbs up and subscribe to our channel if you have not done so already. If you’re listening to us on a podcast directory like Apple Podcast, please subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as they’re out. Alright, very exciting episode today, we have Linden Tibbets, the CEO of IFTTT, this is a company that I’m sure many of you have heard of, If This Then That, they’re an online platform that empowers you to do more with your favorite apps and smart devices by helping them automate, integrate, so that they can work together seamlessly. Fantastic company, fantastic conversation. Really enjoyed this one, Linden is a great guest. We talk a lot about not just the founding story of the company, since I know a lot of you may be curious to hear about how IFTTT came to be, but also how IoT can really work to connect the world, how the integration of brands and services are different in the physical and digital world. How low-code, no-code integration platforms are important for the adoption of IoT, trends we’re seeing in the space, challenges that he’s seen, lots of really good stuff that I think you’ll get a lot of value out of. But before we get into it, maybe you’re out there looking to enter the fast-growing and profitable IoT market, but don’t know where to start, check out our sponsor, Leverege. Leverege’s IoT solutions development platform, provides everything you need to create turnkey IoT products that you can white label and resell under your own brand. To learn more, go to iotchangeseverything.com, that’s iotchangeseverything.com. And without further ado, please enjoy this episode of the IoT For All Podcast. Welcome, Linden, to the IoT For All Podcast. Thanks for being here this week.
– [Linden] Of course, Ryan. Thanks for having me, excited to be here.
– [Ryan] Yeah, me too. I’ve been looking forward to this conversation ever since we got it booked. So what I wanna do is just, for those of who may not be familiar with you, I’d love if you could do a quick introduction about yourself and the company.
– [Linden] Sure, so I’m Linden Tibbets, founder and CEO of company called IFTTT, I-F-T-T-T. That stands for If This Then That. So our name is what we do, we help people connect any service to any other service. A lot of those services are hardware services, but a lot of ’em are just services like Twitter and Dropbox and Slack, and the connections all follow a pattern of if something happens, then do something else. So you’re at home, working from home, somebody rings your connected doorbell, get that in a specific Slack channel. So if someone rings the doorbell, then posted this Slack channel, really kind of possibilities are infinite. So really just kind of up to your imagination, and we strive to make connecting things together as approachable as possible. So even though If This Then That sounds a little programmery, it’s really not programming. If you can use an app or a website and click on big icons and buttons, you can use IFTTT.
– [Ryan] Who would you kind of define as your target market, like your end user or ideal end user?
– [Linden] Yeah, so for us, we’re really aiming for the really kinda the broadest possible user base. We wanna build something that’s approachable for everybody, not just the smart home geeks or the digital marketing team within some other company, but for somebody that’s looking to stream video games, we’re starting to to think a lot about what we’re calling the enterprise of one, people that have found ways to build, whether it’s their main business or some kind of side business online around themselves and what they enjoy, could be video games, could be people on Instagram, kind of as influencers in one way or another. So there’s just a whole lot of kind of new opportunities out there for people to make money online beyond doing a startup. And they’re all looking for ways to make things easier, and they kind of end up having a kind of a grab bag of different services that run that business, and they’re looking for ways to connect them. That said, we also have a ton of folks, and one of our big audiences are smart home aficionados, I think, is a little more positive than geek. I’m one of those as well. I’ve tried just about everything. And I think, without really intending to really, from the get-go, the first couple years, we had our first kind of connected hardware device from Belkin and Wemo, the original Wemo switches. We didn’t build IFTTT because we thought the IoT kind of world was coming or the smart home was coming, but it just kind of naturally fit in. And I’m sure I’ll talk a lot more about kind of the inspiration behind it. But we actually drew a lot of our inspiration from the physical world. And so I think that was one of the reasons it just kind of was a natural fit for smart homes in IoT.
– [Ryan] Yeah, it’s actually my next question, because anytime I have the opportunity to have a founder on the show, one of my favorite things to do is just hear about the founding of the company, take me through prior to IFTTT existing and what opportunity you saw in the market for this, kind of what was the problem or the need that you saw, and then what kind of led through the creation and then some of the challenges you potentially faced to get it to where it is now, just kind of anything along that journey timeline would be fantastic to hear a little bit about.
– [Linden] Of course, of course, yeah. Gimme a little bit more of my background. So based out here in Silicon Valley and San Francisco, been here for 20 some odd years now, but really from an early age, 12, 13 years old, that I wanted to be doing computer stuff in Silicon Valley, at the time was largely video games, Pixar was out here, LucasArts was out here. So I was really into kind of movies and games. Did computer engineering in school, was lucky enough. My first job right out of the gate from school was at Electronic Arts and Maxis, works on the Sims too, so kind of lived the original or what I thought was the original computer dream, working on video games. Then worked really kind of a soul-crushing job, really kind of cubicle. It was like enterprise security stuff. Did that for a couple years, and I mentioned it because it was kind of soul-crushing enough to inspire me to really kind of go out and say like, “What did I really want to do?” No one was gonna kind of hand it to me in on silver platter. And I think some of the kind of gaming stuff and entertainment stuff, because when you’re thinking about making a video game, you’re so naturally oriented around the end user, most people that wanna make games also really like to play games, and you’re thinking about building something for someone else, and their experience of it, I mean, it’s almost unnatural to think any other way when you’re making a game or a movie or something like that. But really, if you’re making anything for someone else, that’s the right orientation. And sometimes it’s a lot harder to get in that mindset, if it’s not a game or a movie or something that’s just meant to be that engaging. And so I think some of that led to this deep interest that I had in design. I went to school for computer engineering, didn’t really have much of a kind of an art and design background, but there was something about that I kind of translated from thinking about making video games into thinking about, “Well, how you design anything,” something as mundane as a pencil or a table, but something also as interesting as a mobile app. And so that led to a lot of kind of little one-off projects even started kind of called the company at the time that didn’t quite work, but got really, really interested in designing stuff and didn’t want to work at a design firm. So as an engineer, not necessarily, maybe a little bit easier today than it was back in, I guess, 2007 or 2008. Applied to 30 or 40 different places. Only heard back from one, and it just happened to be kind of this like world class design firm named IDEO. So was hired there as an engineer that kind of desperately wanted to be a designer and just kind of learned by osmosis and kind of tried to make that transition into doing more design work. And it was during that kind of tenure there at IDEO for a few years, that kind of bumped into the two or three different things that really inspired what IFTTT has become. I think the first one was just kind of what I was doing day in and day out was as one of the handful of computer engineers at the company, a lot of what I was doing was kind of connecting internal systems, old things that had been built over a decade or more. And they were trying to build kind of an internal portfolio, kind of knowledge-sharing engine. And so a lot of what I was doing wasn’t actually building something new, it was just like duct-taping a bunch of old stuff together and then putting an interface on it that made it look new. So that was one thing was kind of this realization that, should even as a professional programmer, a lot of what we’re doing is just kind of like pushing stuff together and calling it something new. But then I think maybe the more interesting inspiration, so there was a woman there at IDEO named Jane Fulton Suri, and she was pretty early on there, but she was very unique in the design world. I think she’s kind of a tenured professor at Stanford still. But she came from psychology background, she was a psychologist. She thought about people first. And so in the world of design, a lot of people taught now about human-centered design or human factors. Those kind of terms and that kind of momentum all really built around her time at IDEO, I think in the early 90s or late 80s. And it almost seems obvious that you should design and build something by thinking about the people that are gonna use it first. And you can talk about how that’s, you’re almost like forced to thinking that way when you’re thinking about games or movies. But that wasn’t really how design work, I think the world of design is still kind of recovering from this perception that it’s kind of this veneer or this kind of aesthetic thing put on top of something that’s already been invented or kind of engineered, but that really isn’t the case. And I think what Jane Fulton Suri did so well was kind of highlight all the different opportunities there are to learn from the people that are trying to solve problems without your product on the market. And IDEO and her publish this book, it’s really a picture book. It’s called “Thoughtless Acts,” and they’re kind of just pictures and little snippets of places where people are using some type of object outside the range of what it was originally designed for. Examples would be, like holding a door open with a hammer or putting your pencil behind your ear to hold onto it rather than like putting in your pocket or somewhere, so these are all little small kind of adaptations or kind of repurposes or repurposing that we do all day every day, something as mundane as like getting up and checking the weather and deciding what output to wear. “Is it gonna rain, should I wear my rain jacket?” No one thinks of that as being inventive or certainly not programming, but in a physical world, in the physical context, because we understand how everything works in a really deep way, so much so that we take it for granted. It’s almost silly to say like, “Rain is wet so you should wear your rain jacket, “and your rain jacket keeps you dry.” But we’re able to make those decisions, and those are the same types of decisions that a programmer makes, specifically working in some kind of object-oriented programming environment, you’re thinking about the functionality of something, does it do X or Y? What are the ways that you can manipulate that object? And then how can you use that to then solve some other problem? And so, this idea of kind of inventive reuse or repurposing is really what programming is all about. And in a purely physical context, people do that all day every day and don’t think twice about it. So in a way, we’re all programmers, just some of us are programmers in a very mundane and kind of obvious way, in a much smaller group or programmers in the kind of, I guess, classical sense in this digital world. And IFTTT was really meant from day one to be a solution to that problem, how do we help more people do what digital programmers do in the same way that they already nationally do it in a physical context, and do it in a way that’s so easy that they also take it for granted. And so, that’s what If This Then That is, it’s kind of like something plucked from the world of programming and then kind of reimagined as something that would be approachable for people that don’t have a technical background and don’t even want to think that they’re programming.
– [Ryan] Yeah, I feel like that has carried into some of the conversations I’ve had recently just around the wider spread adoption of low-code and no-code integrations or platforms, I guess, you could say, in the IoT space just in general, not just for consumers, but for enterprises and businesses as well. When you kind of look at this at a higher level, even outside of just what you’re doing at IFTTT, how do you kind of view low-code and no-code integration platforms as, or what role do you think they play, and how important are they to the overall growth and adoption for the IoT industry of the whole?
– [Linden] Yeah, well, I mean, I think they’re, we’re kind of preaching to the choir here, I’m obviously gonna say they’re important. To be a little bit more specific, I think they’re kind of filling in a gap or kind of bridging a gap along the spectrum. You’ve got digital true programmers on one side, everybody else, maybe people that haven’t even used the internet in a really kind of intense way on the other side, and we’re trying to kind of smooth that out, how do we make a lot of the same kind of superpowers, almost that digital programmers have, available to everyone else. And I think one of the things, as the kind of low-code no-code, term or category started to really get traction, we were always kind of curious, it was like, “Hey, how come no one really mentions IFTTT that much,” we’re not like, no one really says, “Oh, IFTTT, it’s low-code, no-code.” And at first we were a little like, “Oh, we thought we were here first.” it was a little bit of a ego damage. But then, as it continued to go, and we thought a little bit more about it and thought a lot about kind of some of our first principles, we actually like not being mentioned, I kind of don’t wanna be a low-code, no-code platform, not because they’re bad as much as I think the audience that we aspire to build IFTTT for is really a little bit closer to that side of the spectrum away from programmers, where low-code, no-code, I mean, the fact that it even has code even though it’s low or no, makes it something that seems a little bit more like programming. We’ve really tried to make IFTTT something, we never say code, we never say programming, the only thing kind of programmery about our product is If This Then That. And that’s really on purpose. So to me, low-code, no-code is kind of like almost something adjacent to what we do, I don’t know.
– [Ryan] Okay, fair enough.
– [Linden] Awesome word for what we do really. I would almost say IFTTT is kinda like duct tape, it’s a little quick and dirty, anybody can use it, and it’s almost infinitely flexible, depending on the type of problem you’re trying to solve. It’s not meant to be a lot of the low-code, no-code stuff, they’re competing kind of directly with the features and the problems that are often also being solved within products themselves. And what we’re trying to do is offer something that kind of evolves alongside those products. So as products begin to incorporate some of those solutions or features into their own product, they’re always evolving, always kind of improving, adding new things. We’re actually okay with some of the solutions that IFTTT might have provided in the past being incorporated into those products. Like, we’re not trying to compete directly, ’cause we look at it as, there’s only gonna be more ways that people want to connect and combine services. And oftentimes, if some of those ways are either really popular or really useful, they can probably be done better within those products. You don’t necessarily need an integration platform to solve some of those problems and be sustainable. So we would look at it as, we always wanna be kind of on the fringes, we always wanna be- The thousand, the long tail of solutions rather than trying to compete directly with them.
– [Ryan] And I think when you kinda describe it around the fringes, that that helps kind of differentiate a good bit of where, when we’re talking low-code no-code, what that is more tied to and then what IFTTT is more tied to in the focus on that side. The IoT industry as a whole when it comes to developing solutions, especially for more of the enterprise commercial business kind of end users, everything, it started out very custom, heavy code, and then started to build these platforms to enable teams maybe with less engineers, I don’t say lower-skilled, but more green engineers to come in and put together a workable solution from pilot to scale without as much heavy customization, have as heavy as much code. And a lot of times, I could imagine that those solutions that end up getting created, those products that end up getting created, are then able to be tied to other products through IFTTT, So it’s kind of like, you all have your own place and you come in at different steps depending on the process, the solution, the end user. And I can understand, as you explain it, how and why there’s a difference between how you look at things for as what IFTTT does versus when the industry’s talking about low-code, no-code and the role that they each play?
– [Linden] Yeah, yeah. I don’t know if this metaphor will land as nice as it is as my head right now, but in a way, low-code, no-code, they’re kind of like filling gaps as a market develops. And those gaps are hopefully temporary, and they’ll ultimately be filled in as a product or products evolve, to go back to that physical world and that original inspiration with thoughtless acts, like somebody uses a hammer, kind of pushes it under the door to hold the door open. There’s not really a gap in the hammer market for hammers that also hold doors open, a little bit of a silly example here, but it’s still like a creative reuse. It’s a way to get more value from the hammer you already got. And so, that’s the type of problem that we kind of wanna solve. We wanna give people kind of like flexibility and kind of be able to express their own creativity with products that are already well established or already really kind of fleshed out or are going to fill a lot of those other gaps. So, yeah, I don’t know what the low-code, no-code example might be, but maybe if, at some point, someone said, “Well, hey, there’s a hammer,” we should also have a hammer that pulls the nails out, not just hammers them in, that’s a real gap and the hammer market. So they started to build the hammer with the other side. And that, to me, is a little bit of the space that low-code no-code is kind of filling in. And I think there’s place for both, no market or no product will be fully evolved right outta the gate will ever meet all those use cases.
– [Ryan] Totally agree, and I think just so, back to the original question of how those low-code, no-code platforms or helping the adoption of IoT, they’re making IoT more accessible, it’s making it easier for solutions to be built and not requiring heavy engineering, heavy coding in order for things to come to market, which from an industry perspective, that’s a good thing, because we get more use cases out there, more users out there seeing the value in IoT, and those successes help breed confidence amongst those who may be hesitant to adopt the technologies. And I think, as a whole, bringing things, getting things to market faster so people can realize the ROI and so forth is a win for the industry as a whole.
– [Linden] Totally, and especially if you are building any kind of hardware, I mean, it just like, we work with so many people doing hardware, and I mean, hardware is so hard, but now you’ve gotta connect it to the internet, you’ve gotta maintain a bunch of kind of server side stuff. It’s just like the bar has been raised so much higher than it was when you were just building the hardware itself. So it’s a real challenge for any company looking to build connected hardware.
– [Ryan] Absolutely, so another question I had for you is, when we talk about the integration of brands and services, how do you kind of view that integration being different in the physical and the digital world?
– [Linden] I wanna make sure I kind of understand what you’re interested in here. You’re kind of asking about what’s the difference between kind of like a purely digital service, Slack or Dropbox or something like that and something like a ring doorbell or a Q light bulb, and how they think about integrations, or specifically, how they think about integrations with IFTTT?
– [Ryan] Yeah, just more of a high-level kind of thing, the physical and the digital world, whenever we’re thinking about integrations, I just wanna kind of get a sense of how those brand and services are different in the physical and digital world just from a general sense.
– [Linden] Yeah, I think one of the, kind of a slightly interesting but different take than I think maybe others would have is that in a digital context, so much of what we think about digital is often bundled up with this idea that the user is gonna be like fully engaged. They’re gonna be looking at it, they’re gonna be using it, think about Slack or Twitter, you don’t get any value from those products unless you’re looking at them or actually doing something with them directly. And in a purely physical world, that’s really not the case. And oftentimes, you’re not looking at your doorbell all day every day. In fact, the value you get from your doorbell usually doesn’t involve you at all until you answer the door, so much of what’s happening in a physical context isn’t also bundled with this idea that the end user, to get value, has to be directly engaged with it. Now you can also think of other examples that aren’t the case, but even something like a light bulb, like, you turn on the lights, that obviously lights the room, it solves a problem, you can read a book or something like that, but you’re not sitting there looking at the light, you’re not like directly one-to-one kind of engaged with that light. And I think that difference is what, I think, a lot of companies, especially some of the earlier IoT companies in the consumer space really weren’t able to figure out the right balance, they built a lot of their IoT platforms and products really kind of thinking that they were also gonna be the dashboard, “We’ll start with lights or locks or video cameras.” And they spent a lot of time kind of building out these digital experiences that were all really well done, but they were kind of built with the same mindset of the people that were building Slack or Twitter, like, they were thinking of it as like, “Okay, this is something that someone’s going to look at “and spend a lot of time with “and going to engage directly with.” And I think that ended up, I think, kind of backfiring, because what people really want out of, especially in their home, but really out of any physical product, is for it to work and for them to not have to worry about it. There’s so many of those products that you just don’t get value when you’re directly engaging with it. And so, none of those companies were really able to become kind of like the iPhone platform or the one place for all those things to connect.
– [Ryan] Yeah, yeah, I know exactly what you mean.
– [Linden] Figuring that out.
– [Ryan] Yeah, yeah, it was interesting to kind of see, what was I reading a little while ago? I was reading some article or some kind of outreach from another organization who basically was making prediction or made predictions way back when, and especially in the smart home space on what would end up happening, would there be kind of that iPhone-type interface experience to kind of house and handle all of your smart devices, and kind of how, from there, the industry kind of grew into what it is now and what people expected versus what ended up happening. And it was very interesting to kind of see how that space evolved versus compared to what people thought was gonna happen in the space.
– [Linden] I mean the voice assistance kind of came close.
– [Ryan] They did.
– [Linden] So far, that has been the closest to kind of the actual hub, not necessarily thinking of it as like a connectivity hub, but like, okay, the interface through which you would interact with all these other things. But I think, even talking to people at Alexa or at Google Assistant, I think they’ve all kind of moved on from that idea too that they were gonna be the iPhone of voice assistants, there are all kinds of reasons why that is, but I still kind of believe, and I don’t know if I know exactly how to work or when, but a lot of the companies as they talk about AR specifically or even if you think about the billions of dollars that Facebook has kind of poured into that. It’s not because they believe somebody wearing the goggles in their living room when no one else can kind of engage with them is the future as much as like that’s a logical step to a future in which everything we’re doing on our screens, PC screens, or phone screens, is now something that is interactive in a much more natural way that kind of melds with the physical world, and sounds all very futuristic, and I’m sure you can find all kinds of really cool stuff that companies are doing or Apple is gonna finally launch the Apple glasses or something. At some point, that will work, and that’s gonna be somewhere in that AR world is the iPhone for IoT.
– [Ryan] Agreed, whoever does it well is gonna be in a really good position. I mean, so you’ve seen with the iPhone, how much control they have if they’re able to kind of be the place where, and in the app store even, as another example, just how important it is to be able to have that kind of presence and control, and yeah, I’m interested to see how that kind of plays into the consumer IoT market, especially smart homes. ‘Cause a lot of people, I guess, there’s two different approaches to it or maybe more than that, but people sometimes will mix their brands in the things that they buy, and some will stay very much in with one brand for all their smart home products because it allows ’em to more easy to control in the integration they know is gonna work, but there’s so many products out there from all areas of the world that it’s just is such a interesting space.
– [Linden] Yeah, yeah, the the one brand thing is really a temporary solution. It probably feels safe in some way, but can you imagine having like only Ikea furniture or like only- Nike clothes, no one on earth, you might have a lot of Nike clothes, I do, but no one has all those things. At some point, you’re gonna mix and match.
– [Ryan] Well, and not everyone can be the best at everything. If you’re an expert in making smart doorbells, smart locks, doesn’t mean that you’re an expert in making smart fans and smart other products. On one end, I understand why they want you to kind of stay locked into their brand, but at the same time, consumers have the freedom of that choice and being able to have them work together in different ways and make that user experience seamless just, I feel, still is a better option and a win for the ecosystem as a whole.
– [Linden] Totally, it’s just almost like, “What future do we wanna live in?” Do we wanna live the kind of like, you know, everything is, you’re either an Amazon person or a Google person or an Apple person, that sounds terrible. And so yeah, you kind of root for diversity, diversity and ideas.
– [Ryan] And integrations too, ways to have them work together.
– [Linden] Totally, totally.
– [Ryan] So one thing I wanted to ask you before we wrap up here is, so we’ve talked about a lot of great topics today, but if we look at, let’s say, the next five years, what are some of the things that, based on your experience in the market, your view of the market, what do we see as some of the biggest trends in IoT going forward over the next five years? Or what are some of the things you’re most excited about or optimistic about?
– [Linden] I think one of the things that I’ve just now started to see is that I think some of the consumer IoT companies have started to get really serious about and solve some of the connectivity problems, just like setting the thing up, keeping it connected to your wifi, or getting it connected to your phone. And we’ve seen a lot of patterns, I think, actually come over from, if you have like a fire TV or a smart TV, you’ve probably seen, login to your Hulu account or log into your Netflix account, basically taking a picture of a QR code or entering in a little pin or something so you don’t have to enter in your username and password. And as silly as some of that authentication stuff sounds, ’cause it doesn’t sound as sexy as an important as like the actual features themselves. That barrier, imagine buying a light bulb, and you plug it in, and you’re done, that’s how it used to work. But you buy a connected light bulb, well, you still gotta plug it in, but now you’ve also gotta download the app, sign into the app, this is stuff that I’m sure-
– [Ryan] Well, there’s friction there, that creates a level of friction to people’s experiences.
– [Linden] Totally, and I think I’m starting to see that friction has taken a really long time. But that friction is starting to make meaningful kind of steps down, to get to the spot where ideally it’s, the best interface is no interface. If you can have the security and the confidence without ever signing in, that’s ideal. And I don’t know exactly how that works, but, I think, especially in the consumer world that that’s starting to happen. But even then, there’s then the problem of how do you then connect it to other things, to connect any of those consumer IoT products as service like IFTTT, or even if you’re just cooking it up to your Alexa or Google Assistant directly, it’s the same kind of barrier, it’s like there’s some kind of login process, there’s some kind of security protocols, and for every kind of like fraction of an inch of effort there, you basically wipe out hundreds of millions of people that will just never do it, because why make something harder? I’ve always said there’s really kind of two levers, especially with consumer IoT, that the industry has to get more adoption, you can either lower the barrier, whether it’s the setup barrier or even like the price barrier, how do you sell, we work a lot with Wise, and I think one of the big things they figured out is how to lower that price barrier to a point where you can buy something that a lot of the other brands are still starting 200 or 300 bucks for, for 30 or 40 bucks. And the other lever you have is increased value. And so oftentimes, especially as a startup, you kind of, I think, come at it ’cause you’re probably a power user or somebody that has thought about products in that space before, and you focus so much on the value, “How do we make this even more valuable?” But instead, I think you could probably get more people to adopt by shifting that focus, you’ve gotta have some value there, you’ve gotta have some reason to have something connected to the internet versus not. But if you can lower that barrier to entry, I think that’s even more powerful. And that basically was what drove so much of what we think of is like Web 1.0 or the iPhone stuff, it wasn’t like you could do something entirely new that you could never do before, it was just so much freaking easier to do the same thing.
– [Ryan] I agree, and it’s interesting, if you look at a lot of different industries, even not even connect IoT, just how that evolution played out to eventually allow it to take off as you made, as you kind of worked on, as you called them, those two different levers, the value and the way to kind of adopt ease of use and so forth. And I think that is definitely the way to win the game here, because as we mentioned earlier, even in the consumer space, the more you are able to drive adoption through whatever means that is, the more likely people are going to see hopefully success with those products, means that then they adopt more and more and more. And them doing that kind of just bleeds over to other people doing that. And it’s the same within the enterprise spaces. As we see more successes in particular use cases, as technology matures, prices come down and so forth, it’s gonna encourage more adoption around that particular industry and then obviously replicate it across others. And it’s, per se, it’s the same for consumer. And as we go back to IFTTT being able to make it so that you can integrate in and have the devices you have interact with each other and continue to make your life simpler and that process is easy, then it just makes it better, you’re more likely to have more stuff. It’s just like, I have an iPhone, I think I had an iPhone before I had a Mac, and then the integration with that into my computer was way easier and better with the Mac versus I think I had just had a normal PC. So you kind of start to put all the pieces together and realize the benefit and the value of these things can play in your life. And sometimes it requires a tool like IFTTT to be able to do that. But yeah, I’m actually talking to somebody in a couple weeks about the onboarding process of IoT devices and why that’s such a critical thing to companies should be focusing on. Because I mean, I’ve opened many smart products, that we get sent many smart products on our end just to play with. And if the friction to get that thing set up and installed is a pain, you’re unlikely to not only not use that product but also stay away from that brand. And that’s something that is something that I think is very important for people to really understand.
– [Linden] Yeah, yeah, I think we’ll know that we’ve taken a huge step forward with IoT when the value relative to an unconnected version of the same product actually doesn’t change relative to how the user experiences it. We recently had to buy a new dishwasher, didn’t buy a connected one, but imagine if the connected version of that dishwasher, because it was connected, the company themselves were able to do something for lower costs, something about the maintenance or having forbid somehow being able to monetize the data around the usage of the washer. But that connectivity, from an end user’s perspective, they used the dishwasher the same way they used their old dishwasher, but because it was connected, the company was able to sell the dishwasher at half the price. So there you’re talking about a reduction in the barrier for the user, but really the value is all on the company side, the person that actually produces that product, and because it’s connected, they can sell it at a lower price than the unconnected one. So I think that’s when you’ll see it really take off, when you can begin to justify having everything connected, because as a consumer, you don’t actually get some new feature or some fancy app. It’s just cheaper, or it’s easier to maintain. And I think that that’s when I think the consumer IoT will really start to go.
– [Ryan] I agree, and I think there’s a lot of other ways for businesses to get value and even make money through having, it’s like an incentive for them to have their customers have connected products. And as they start to learn that and realize what they actually are getting, whether it’s the data, the insights, the upsell ability through a subscription or something like that, it almost starts to make sense to price these things down even though they may be more expensive to make because of the possibilities to not only make other money, but also collect information that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to have or would be expensive to get because the connected element is something that gives them a whole new level of insight and value to not only them but the customer at the same time.
– [Linden] Yeah, I mean, it sounds silly to say it today, but I would totally have a dishwasher subscription. I don’t need to own my dishwasher, I don’t know how those kind of business models will work. But I think connectivity, at least on the consumer side, for the first kind of decade, and maybe we’ve already gone a decade now with kind of connected smart home stuff, I think was about how do we create the value and kind of the ooh and ahh kind of feature stuff that force, get people to actually pay twice as much for the same product, but the connected version. And hopefully, the next 10 years is like, the same product as the unconnected version, but the value is more and the cost to actually adopt it, it’s cheaper, it’s easier, it’s less hassle.
– [Ryan] Or the company just kind of eats some of the costs because of the other ways that they can make money on it or they get value out of it. And if they can do that, I mean, it’s similar to a lot of other industries. I think in the video games space, a lot of these console makers will sell it at a loss because they make the money back on the games or things like that. So I think the model, there are variations of that model that, I think, will carry over to the IoT space in both the consumer and the business side. So very exciting stuff to think about. But Linden, thank you so much for taking the time. This has been a fantastic conversation. Even before we ever met, been a big fan of what y’all are doing at IFTTT, I’m sure a lot of our audience familiar and has used it before. But I’m really looking forward to getting this episode out as well as staying in touch and hopefully recording some more content as the rest of this year into next year progresses. And I think your insights and kind of the viewpoint you have on the industry is quite interesting and something that our audience could get value out of continually hearing kind of thoughts and updates.
– [Linden] Awesome, pleasure is all mine. I’d love to do it again.
– [Ryan] Fantastic, all right, well, thanks so much, and look forward to talking again soon.
– [Linden] All right, cheers, thank you.
– [Ryan] All right, everyone, thanks again for watching that episode of the IoT For All Podcast. If you enjoyed the episode, please click the thumbs up button, subscribe to our channel, and be sure to hit the bell notifications so you get the latest episodes as soon as to become available. Other than that, thanks again for watching, and we’ll see you next time.