What is a tech product? A Q&A with OMRT founder Andreja Andrejevic
Updated: Oct 27, 2022
Having recently secured Series-A funding, OMRT (a real-estate, technology company) is entering a new phase of expansion. The big goal in this phase is to translate a technology aided service into a full fledged tech product…
To better understand what this means, I had a quick chat with the one and only, OMRT founder, Forbes 30 under 30 listed, former heavyweight champion of the world (okay not exactly), Andreja Andrejević, with the focus on a seemingly simple question “what is a tech product?”. Let’s jump straight in;
Welcome Andreja, glad we’re sitting down to discuss this Happy to be doing it!
At first glance, this question might seem a bit off-topic, so tell me, what is the importance of this question. Why do we need to understand what a tech product is in our industry (real-estate)? This is without a doubt an important question because it’s critical to how we do things at OMRT. It’s a big change for people from traditional industry to understand, and until they do, the traditional industry cannot make the changes that are necessary in today’s digital world.
Essentially a product is the container through which a service is provided. We can offer a service without this container of course, but it would be a bit like selling a bunch of lego blocks without any instructions. Sure, the potential is there to be creative and figure it out, but without the instructions on how to piece the blocks together, you can’t replicate the results. Everyone will have a different creation. Great for art maybe, but in most industries (especially ours) things need to be consistent and predictable.
Can you define a product precisely? I would say it’s something with a distinct set of features, which is containerized within a packaging (real or virtual) which makes clear what it can do, and indeed its limitations of what it can do
OMRT Design Scout showing implementation of various facade elements
Does the definition of a product change when we are talking about software? Traditionally, products would only have been tangible and physical. How have things changed? The less tangible that a product is, the harder it is to understand, that’s for sure. If I pick up this remote, or look at that TV on the wall, it’s easy to understand what that is. It’s physical, you can pick it up and use it.
Because of that, it’s easy to see the boundaries of that physical product. I’m not going to pick up this TV remote and ask “Can I use it to start a fire in the fireplace?” No, that would be absurd, as it’s so plain and simple to see what it can do.
But because we operate in the non-tangible world of software, it becomes a little harder to see these limitations. So it becomes so important that we containerize our offerings really nicely into an understandable product. That way we can explain to people exactly what we do, how we can design buildings in a radically different way. And likewise the limitations of how we do that.
The OMRT Design Scout product detailing construction elements & unit size
But why then do you think attitudes are still lagging behind in that sense? We’ve been living in a digital world for years now. What’s at the root of this disconnect, and failure to understand the nature of a tech product? If we’re to take the example of OMRT, then there is blame on ourselves, and in the industry. First, we haven’t done enough so far, on clearly explaining the limitations, features & benefits of our software in a way which is quick & easy to understand.
Like when Spotify launched, it could be described as an “infinite jukebox”? Exactly. And although we also think big in terms of changing our industry, the vocabulary isn’t quite there yet to have the “infinite jukebox” level expression with that instant impact. But as knowledge of concepts like “digital twinning” get more widespread, and the industry continues to digitalise, ours becomes easier to explain.
And then what about the wider industry? What’s their part of the blame? The wider industry still thinks in an old-school way. People are not familiar with new solutions, and are not used to working in a fully digitalized manner. But that is changing fast.
But we can mostly only focus on ourselves, and as I’m sure you can tell from the fact that we’re doing this talk, defining the product is a priority for OMRT. At the same time, we’ve been seeing the trend in the real-estate industry toward understanding the tech way of thinking for a while already.
A cycle of numerous analyses on a housing development in the Netherlands, viewed within the OMRT Design Scout
And a final question then before we sign off… What exactly is involved in this product definition process? And what will OMRT do to define and improve its product? We get better at this every day. With every project we do, it becomes clearer & easier to understand what the market needs and what are the most commonly demanded features. We can serve the lowest common denominator of the market. And that means, that every day and with every project, our digital twinning software becomes more and more relevant to the global market.
Nice! I think we’ve got a good overview of this topic today. Definitely it’s clear why defining & containerizing a tech product is so important, in a way that’s probably not so intuitive to people at first glance.
For sure! Hope people learn a thing or two from this.