Despite the incredible pressure that people feel to be the first on 
the market with the latest release, I think history shows that it is 
almost NEVER the first product to market that has long-term success, 
at least in high-tech.  The IBM PC was not the first to market by a 
number of years.  Microsoft hasn't ever gotten there first with 
anything that comes to mind.  VisiCalc.  WordStar.  Doc-to-Help was, 
I think, on the market before Robohelp, yet they got outmarketed 
ultimately.  VHS vs. Beta: Beta was, and is, a better overall format 
but VHS outmarketed Beta and >poof< no more Beta.  And so on.  It 
could be argued that what tends to work is the products that watched 
what the first product did and then didn't make the same mistakes or 
at least capitalized on marketing.  There are exceptions to 
this--Visio comes to mind--where something is so truly innovative as 
to be unique, but these are rare and stellar examples.  For the most 
part, the first product to cross the finish line is guaranteed to 
~not~ survive the test of time.

Even on a short-term basis, pushing a product out the door to meet an 
arbitrary schedule gets you what you deserve.  Who here is fool 
enough to install the .0 version of anything from, say, Microsoft or 
Adobe?  And who, having done that, got away with it with their 
computing skin intact?  Robert Cringely was nice enough to quote me 
in his column a couple months ago: "At Microsoft, quality is job 
SP1," but this is an aphorism you could apply to a lot of companies, 
not just the folks in Redmond.  They all feel the same pressures and 
make the same mistakes.

If I knew that a company was actively taking a few extra months to 
plan things and deliver me a bug-free product, I'd be very impressed 
and would consider that heavily when shopping for something.

Yours truly,

John Hedtke
Author/Consultant/Contract Writer <-- website
541-685-5000 (office landline)
541-554-2189 (cell)
john at (primary email)
johnhedtke at (secondary email) 

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