Archive for November, 2007

Rule #23 – You don’t want everyone as a customer.
November 15, 2007

Holy hot dogs. I’ve been spending the last few weeks trying to source a specific kind of medical software for my employer and EVERY vendor I’ve talked to would have been better served to save us both a bunch of trouble and hang up on me from the word “go.” I’m a reasonably intelligent individual, but for no amount of charts and graphs and screenshots is making any of this make any sense.

My experience with these folks is like this: I tell them what we do. I tell them what we need in the software. I tell them what I want to pay. They nod politely, then forget everything I just said and proceed to pitch their product, wasting my valuable time and theirs.

Not every person out there is a potential customer. Not every person who is interested in your product or service is going to like it. This is a good thing. Yes, you need customers. But what you don’t need is a bunch of round holes that you sold a square solution. Selling people what is “wrong” for them just because you are all about closing deals will make you want to jump off of a cliff. Their support needs will increase while their satisfaction decreases, which is the business equivalent of buying a Yugo.

The success of your business once isn’t about customers finding you to be the right solution for them. It’s also about you finding that they are the right customers for you. On the long street of selling, traffic needs to run both ways for people to get anywhere.

Short rant.
November 7, 2007

Someday soon, all the people sitting around trying to mashup pictures with video or turn RSS feeds in to ad widgets or link maps to product reviews will come to the realization that everyone is panning for gold in the same river.  The folks at the general store selling the picks (Google) and shovels (Microsoft) and buckets (Facebook) will make a tidy sum while most folks end up with nothing.  It’s already starting to happen some: popular tech blogs are being updated less frequently.  VCs are putting less money in to Web 2.0 companies.  All the work being done in garages around the world is being undone in one stroke as power players like Google and Facebook open their platforms.  The end is nigh.  No, there won’t be a lot of public companies that go under, but there will be a bunch of unemployeed 28 year olds that won’t be able to afford the next version of the iPhone unless they go get a real job.

And once the mining town of Web 2.0 has long packed up and set off for home, there will be theories and books and conferences and discussions and debates about the lessons we should learn from trying to build an economy out of something other then the transaction of goods for cold, hard cash.  Sure, there are all kinds of neat web apps out there.  But they’re all useless until someone shoots the lock off their wallet and starts spending some money.