Friday, December 21, 2007

Why doesn't anyone want my software?

I have spoken with hundreds of software developers. And everytime the question is raised: "Why doesn't anyone want my software?" And most of the time, the answer is quite straightforward: "Because it doesn't do what they want."

Somehow software developers become disconnected from reality. Perhaps it is from all the hours they spend trying to perfect their encryption algorithm, or data synchronisation, or migrating to a newer architecture.

Interestingly, most customers simply don't care. They just want to know if it meets their needs.

So software developers ultimately lose heart after trying to convince potential customers that the development platform and database they have used is the best in the market, rather than explaining how the solution can benefit the customer. And once the interest is gone, the developer moves on to the next project, doing exactly the same things they have done in the past, with (not surprisingly) exactly the same results.

So here's an alternate approach:

  1. Talk to customers first, to find out what their problems are, and how much they would be willing to pay for a solution;
  2. Work out how many customers there are that have the same (or similar) problem;
  3. Determine the common characteristics of these customers and how to get in touch with them;
  4. Then build the product.
Now most software developers might think that there isn't any fun in that, but I argue that knowing that what you build is actually solving a real life problem is very satisfying, and when you have hundreds and thousands of customers using your solution, that is what really starts to generate possibilities.

So, what do you think?

Until next time,


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