Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The End is Near

"When the rate of change inside the company is exceeded by the rate of change outside the company," said Jack Welch, the former chairman of General Electric, "the end is near."

Change is good. Growth is good. But trying to be part of every new industry trend - that, too, is a signal that the end is near.

There are problems with embracing every change in the software development marketplace -

Time and money are scarce.

You don't have the resources to hitch your horse to every new trend in the software development industry. The typical one-person microISV cannot continue to develop laptop and desktop applications, develop and market Android and iOS apps, master software as a service (SaaS), and become a major force in cloud computing. There simply aren't enough hours in the day.

Software fads look like software trends.

It's not always easy to distinguish between fads and trends. I know a number of developers who have spent countless hours marketing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and several other social media sites. I can't help but wonder what would have happened if these microISVs had dedicated their efforts to developing innovative desktop/laptop applications instead.

The flip side of the innovation coin is equally troubling. We all know people who took too long to move from DOS to Windows in the early 1980s. Early adopters of Windows 3.1 were able to grab significant market share and guard it from the developers who took longer to embrace Windows.

Every year, Apple makes it harder and harder to figure out who the winners and losers will be. We've all been taught that we need to do market research before we devote months or years to developing a new application. Apple, on the other hand, created a really cool interface, and worried later about populating it with business and home apps that people really needed. Apple won that round.

But remember what Sergio Zyman said in his book "The End of Marketing As We Know It" - "You don't have to win every round to win the fight."

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