John Stanton wrote:
This also is an anecdote from some time back. As we were signing a fairly significant software contract with a large organization their manager told us "You guys know nothing about marketing. Your presentation was unprofessional, no glossy brochures, no audio visuals and we would not have bought except that you were the only ones who convinced us you could do the job". We just smiled and watched the ink dry while we pondered "where did we go right?".

The simple truth is that if you hype a product and sell it into an area where it is inadequate your triumph is short lived and the scorn and litigation enduring. On the other hand if you deliver a solution which works as well, or preferably better, than proposed you have generated raving fans who will buy again and endorse your product to all and sundry. Which is the better model?

To quote a former programs manager for Bank of America "the first solution which meets my business needs and performs the job adequately". In this case, adequately can be defined as loosely as "doesn't crash too often" or as stringently as "positively no errors", depending on the business use.

Keeping the discussion academic, "hype a product..." is a business model that apparently has been used to at least some degree by a company called Microsoft. It tends to work because the model permits them such an early lead that even better products have difficulty catching up.

I do most of my programming in Delphi, a Borland product which remains in my opinion, even in its shadow of former glory state, a far more straightforward and powerful product than Visual Studio. Borland has always been a technical company, not a market driven one and its flagship product is surviving only because it remains a more well rounded Windows solution than its competition. However, it is only surviving and is unlikely to actually thrive ever again.

So my suggested answer is, the proven model is "dominate the market early with an adequate product". If your product is very good and even better than proposed, all the better. But if you are "Johnny come lately", you will likely lose unless your product is very, very good. And, whether we like it or not, a big part of market domination is to convince all the decision makers (management) and decision breakers (engineers with influence) that yours is the safest choice to make.


John Elrick

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