Эрик Синк о "малом софтверном бизнесе"
Eric Sink on the Business of Software
EPILOGUE JUST DO IT
An ISV creates, markets, and
sells software products.
Small ISV are often very boring and very profitable. ... I believe small ISVs are where the opportunities are today.
We have tools and technologies that would have seemed like science fiction ten years ago.
...we tend to believe that the product will either sell or won't. But markets don't work that way. We ask ourselves, "Will people buy this product?" Instead, we should be asking, "How many people will buy this product?" The difference is pretty important.
I claim that every well-constructed product will be purchased by someone. The only question is how many people will but it every year.
On Jan 7th, 1997, I resigned and decided to go into business for myself. I just wanted to be self-employed.
... but I do want to
emphasize the importance of this issue and offer three guidelines
that serve me well:
Although you may not believe it right now, ideas are essentially worthless. ... But like it or not, your idea alone is not valuable. ... Real value comes from good execution. ... The reason is that value is generated only in the presence of a risk/reward ratio.
The concept is simple:
The more money you took from other people, the more profit you have to make.
In any software company, it is important to find a way to keep your 1.0 cycle as short as possible. ... Most companies err on the side of putting too much into the 1.0 release. ... The purpose of 1.0 is to help pay for the development of 2.0, and so on.
My regular readers have seen it before, but I will once again cite my favorite quote from Thomas J. Watson, Sr., founder of IBM:
Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It's quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn't at all. You can be discouraged by failure – or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember that's where you will find a success.
I believe strongly that the
only true failure is not to try.
You would be absolutely amazed at how many of the greatest shareware hits experienced dismal sales after their initial release... something even no sales at all in the entire first year. But the developers turned them into hits by continuously improving those critical success factors over a period of years.
On this point, I agree with him 100%. People give up too easily.
Persistence is not a sufficient condition for success, but it is a necessary one. We must patiently work through our disappointments and keep moving forward.
Circa 1998, betting on Java
for a GUI application was suicidal.
A person can be really smart and also be a really bad fit for the challenges of a small company. Context is critical.
One of the things I've
learned is that a small ISV should not have any programmers.
Watching TV is a waste of time. Coding is not.
So Joel is right: Creative
technical genius (the ability to hit the high notes) is a critical
ingredient when building insanely great products. But it's not the
I find it interesting that although marketing people and technical people often think they have nothing in common, both groups naturally try to weasel out of doing their first phase. Maverick programmers don't want to write specs and do design.
Never forget that your idea is worthless without you. There are probably nine other people on the planet who are thinking about the same idea right now. The only question is which one of you is actually going to make it happen.
The lesson here is that "new" ideas aren't as valuable as people think. Most of the time, when you find a market with no players, it's not really a market. Money is made by beating competition, not by avoiding it. If you want to start a new business, don't look for an idea that has never been tried. Instead look for someone who is serving real customers but not doing it very well. Find a way to do it better.
C# is probably the most perfect example of second-mover advantage that I have ever seen. Microsoft is always very careful when talking about C#. It doesn't want people thinking of C# as a clone of Java. But the truth is obvious: C# is Java done right.
When people buying software
from your ISV, they are expecting a lot from you, both now and in
No software product is perfect. All products have problems. The only question is whether the vendor is fixing them.
As a software product matures over the years, it tends to gain sales guys and lose developers. For a product that is nearing its twilight, it is not uncommon to see a company with lots of sales guys and no developers at all. The reason for this is reasonably intuitive: The product is no longer moving toward the customer.
Improve your product. Moving your product toward the customer is a lot easier. Listen to your customers and give them what they want. Keep your customers happy.
Everything Borland ever created is now owned by someone who will destroy it.
Apr 19, 2010. Two Weeks with an iPad.
Eric Sink - On the Business of Software
This page was first published on January 15, 2008.