We are in the tech sector. Applications, models, methods. Every app takes time and resource. It is imperative one knows whether it will FAIL or SUCCEED. At least not 100% certain, but a little research will go a long way. It is saddening to develop something and have it not fulfilling the purpose.
Many-a-times, I have been asked one of the 3 questions below by friends/followers and ‘friends’:
1 – “Salim, to you, what is better and more fulfilling? To start your own business and make it a success or to JOIN an already existing one and improve it?”
2 – “Salim, I have a good job and I get paid well, but it is not challenging enough. I do the same-old-effking-routine everyday. When is the right time to quit and do something more fulfilling in IT?”
3 – “These people wanajiringa and they did not even develop that system. I know the developer and all they do is use and improve it. The idea was not theirs. do they deserve plaudits?”
And, so, today, as I was watching SharkTank S2E3, Daymond John, said it in one sentence: “Pioneers get slaughtered while settlers prosper“. And, this, my friends is the plain, ugly, real truth!
We see it everyday. A person comes out bubbling with ideas. He has a killer product/idea. He develops something NO ONE envisaged before. Something unfathomable. Something unprecedented. Those who could envisage it just laughed it off in bars and elevators as a good idea. “No one would buy/use it”, they said.
But someone finally develops it. He demos it. It is beautiful. It works. It is revolutionary. This is the pioneer.
Then the same-old-story starts. “Wameniibia”. “That was our/my idea”. ”We thought about that first!”. “I have spoken to my lawyer and they will be sued”. Yadda. Yadda. Yadda.
There are people with resources, willingness and time. They are always looking out for POORLY executed GREAT ideas. They know they have the options. This is Africa. Kenya. Bloody Nairobi. Patents don’t exist. Speak to the wrong people and you will be duplicated. Your project will be finished by someone else before YOU begin. These are the settlers.
A discussion at LinkedIn puts this into better perspective [I have edited for context].
Initial (primary) innovation is a cruel mistress, as it is an energy that must be released. And then, if your unique ‘light’ finds its way to pierce a particular darkness, as soon as it shines, unethical marketers will paint it a different color, put a bigger brand name on it and claim it as their own.
So yes, pioneers get slaughtered because further ‘improvement’ is usually only a small change to the Idea they worked day and night to bring to life.
From the same page in LinkedIn : “Timing, resources, dedication, and business planning make the difference.”.
Timing is all about releasing the critical and ‘people-magnet’ features first. The features that make people want to use your product. Make them use your app. Making haste and getting out there. But getting out there EXPOSES you. Hence the second step.
Resources. How do you evangelize your product beyond the small circles of family, friends, twitter followers. Do you have money to advertise? Can you use EXISTING social, publicity and exposure avenues cost-effectively. Do you have a budget? Ok, you have this sorted. How do you keep the users interested? How do you handle user-fatigue?
Dedication. Keep the services up and continually BUT POSITIVELY improved. Always keep your business at the top of your to-do list. If not as the ONLY thing on it. This is your baby. Feed it daily. 4 times.
Business Planning. What do you improve in version 2? What do you add. What do you drop. What do you merge? Do you need to scale-up or scale out? Do you need some partnerships to increase revenues in certain parts? What is your revenue collection model? How do you maximize revenue in all parts of your business?
The FINAL part of the solution is partnership. You are a pioneer in Business. A novice. A master programmer you may be. An IT Guy. But not necessarily a business person. Do your thing with the servers and databases and code. But PARTNER with someone to do their thing with the clients, the contracts and RA. You cannot do everything yourself, like MOST developers try to do.
Back to code…