As developers we tend to think that a product has to be technically perfect, right? Don’t release until the last bug has been resolved and the complete set of features has been implemented. Only if the software will scale infinitely you have really accomplished your goals, the goals of a good software engineer. Software development heaven will be waiting one day….
Perceived importance of technical sophistication
Now, you expect people (esp. customers) to notice what you’ve beautifully crafted. You suppose customers will rush to your website, reading everything you put up there, fiddling for their credit cards to start buying loads of the stuff or services you sell, clicking on the advertising and giving your business exponential growth, right?
After all, the internet is (still) seen as the holy grail for most businesses (except maybe the music and movie industry). Just get your business or application online and you are set. Everything else is autopilot…
Importance of a market
If you nodded all the way down here, fasten your seat belts. I will have to tell you know that the assumptions I made so far (and in which I believed for a long period of time) are OUTRIGHT WRONG!!! It’s all about finding solutions to satisfy a specific market, have good esthetics and offer some decent chuck of functionality.
Face it, technical goodness is only the least important part of your product.
Market and marketing are first and second. Esthetics third.
Why do simple farting apps, background wallpapers, online stores, a specific social network etc. take such a large chunk of the users in their respective markets? They offer something people want. Most of those business started technically simple. Don’t get me wrong, great technology helps a lot when you are in business (Google search algorithm anyone?) but it is not essential at the start!
Boy, for me this lesson was much to take! I have been playing / working with technology for the most part of my entire life. So I thought getting it technically „right“ is super important…… How dare you put out a website which is not W3C compliant?…. But as I made my first baby steps to get some products out into the web (like sumrai.com) I found only few people were using them. Not because they were badly engineered or technically incomplete but because nobody even knows they exist when they need these tools the most.
Power is nothing without control. Perfectly engineered systems are nothing without 1st) a market 2nd) marketing and 3) esthetics. „So, that’s what his opinion is!“ I hear you thinking. If you want proof, read on….
Simple things work
Maybe I wouldn’t even believe this is the way things work myself. If I haven’t been able to experience it myself:
A good friend of mine, Chris, is running a highly successfully business online. He has created a website where you can measure your typing speed: http://10fastfingers.com
In the last 30 days, he had more than 1.1 million visitors and more than 10 million page views. Users have have taken nearly 46 million tests up to this point (see most recent stats at his page at the bottom). Each test takes 60 seconds. That’s more than 31944 days or 87,5 years spent on his site. Impressive numbers right?
Until October 2011 the only thing you could basically do was type some words for 60 seconds and get your word count per minute. A very simple technical solution and a very simple application for all of his visitors… but so addictive!
So it became evident to me that somehow even technical simple things must work.
A few months ago, Chris suggested a book to me written by Rob Walling „Start Small, Stay Small – A Developer’s Guide to Launching a Startup“. He told me this is a very inspiring book to him and I should have a look at it. I began to read a couple of weeks later…. and was thrilled!
Stay Small to the rescue
I got on a one week holiday a few days after and read the whole book. This was good stuff! Then, I read it again, grabbing pen and paper trying to grasp every thought and information from it, scribbling notes everywhere….
I wanted to create a cheat sheet containing all the essentials in a highly compressed form condensed down to a few pages so I could look up everything, anytime.
That is exactly what I created! I asked the author of „Start Small, Stay Small“, Rob Walling (http://www.softwarebyrob.com/) and I am very happy that I can share the cheat sheets (one for every chapter) with you today!
You can download the cheat sheets for FREE (just enter 0€) or make a small donation. It’s totally up to you :)
I think the sheets will provide added value for some people (like me) which have read the book and want keep a quick „refresh“ handy. I hope these pages will:
– keep you on track
– keeps you motivated
– keeps you focused
– help you to look up important steps
– provide recipes for what to do next
Thank you, Rob, for your feedback while putting these pages together and letting me share them with the public.
If you are a software developer wanting to build and grow a product on order to gain more financial freedom then I highly recommend reading Rob’s complete book.
If your found my cheat sheets useful and if you are thinking of getting the „Start Small, Stay Small“ book you might want to buy it through these Amazon affiliate links. I don’t want to trick you in any way! Let me say clearly that I get a commission if you do so using the Amazon links below. I got requests for another cheat sheet I once made for buying a used mac where people wanted to give something back (mainly after they found their new machine and checked it thoroughly with the help of the list) where I was not able to provide this easy way of saying „Thank You„. ;)
If, for some reason, you want to buy this book directly from Rob that is perfectly fine with me! Just visit his website at http://www.startupbook.net
Im eager to get feedback for everything. This post, the cheat sheets, your opinion of what I said here. Really everything :) Thank you!