Wednesday, March 28, 2007

That about sums it up for the Lessons Learned Series.

I could think of lots of other little lessons learned, but nothing worth writing a full post about. Some of those are:

Provide a Demo of your software!

You might as well put your prices in the open, it will save everyone some time.

Don't count on anything any customers, vendors, etc... say until it's actually delivered upon.

Hold off on forming the corporate structure until the absolute last minute (right before you put your product on the market). People have an irrational fear of getting sued. No one wants to sue someone who has zero revenues.

You probably won't know what your software really needs to do, or who your target audience is until your software actually hits the markets. We assumed middle aged males (95% of chimney sweeps) would be our primary customer. It turns out their wives/office managers are the people that understand software. Some of the features we thought would be the most killer (chimney scanning integration, mapping, route planning) ended up being the least used.

If you just ask potential customers if they want such and such, they will always say "yes". Ask what their problem is, and create a solution around that.

When it doubt keep it simple. If you think it's simple, ask three people; your significant other, one of your parents, and a teenager to try the function. If all three can figure it out without any help, it's probably simple enough.

Speaking of... no one reads the manual. Ever. Frankly I wouldn't bother to even write one, except that people expect it. We had a giant manual and help file at first, but what worked better in the end are lots of Wink demos.

Thats all I can think of. If you have any questions about the experience, I wouldn't mind answering them. If you don't want to post a comment, feel free to email: phila at


At 12:39 PM, Anonymous Jon Trainer said...

Nice summary. These points reflect my experiences as well. I especially agree with your point on not really knowing your market until you release.

At 10:43 PM, Blogger ABrice said...

>If you just ask potential customers if they want such and such, they will always say "yes".

How true. There is no cost to them, so why would they say no? Better to ask "what would X be worth to you?" or "which would be more useful, A or B"?


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