|By Hollis Tibbetts||
|November 16, 2011 10:00 AM EST||
The purpose of this article is to tell you how to take a perfectly good (or even a great) product that you've potentially spent years and millions of dollars creating - and thoroughly and efficiently ruin it in the shortest amount of time possible.
"Why would I want to do that?," you might ask. Honestly, I don't know why. But there must be a good reason because I see it happen with shocking regularity.
For those of you who have read my article "Are You Your Own Worst Enemy?," that article was written to help products succeed in the marketplace. I'd advise you to ignore that article, as it's advice runs contrary to the purpose of this article - achieving market failure.
So, You've Developed a Great Product....
My frame of reference tends to be software - but the principals apply just as well to hardware, any "high tech" product, even consumer packaged goods. Perhaps you or your company has created the next great SaaS or Cloud software product. Or maybe it's the most amazing Ketchup the world has ever tasted. The concept remains the same.
No matter the industry, we're talking about scenarios where you've invested a lot of time and money to create a product, and now it's time to think about bringing it to market and hope that you sell a lot of it.
A Product Launch
Bringing a new product to market is a marketing and sales process (not an event) called a Product Launch. It is one of the most critical parts of a go-to-market strategy.
Very few of them are successful - only 3% of them. I didn't make that number up - it's in an April 2011 article in the Harvard Business Review. And 3% is optimistic - it's based on Consumer Packaged Goods vendors like Proctor & Gamble - companies that do marketing better than any other industry "period." If anyone can pull off a successful product launch, it's a company like P&G.
If these heavily marketing-driven companies only achieve product launch success 3% of the time, the track record for Software - with its notoriously incompetent, sloppy, shoot from the hip, metrics-free, measurement-free and methodology-free marketing approach is at best 1%. Most software succeeds despite marketing, not because of it.
Take a Moment and Reflect
You're an entrepreneur and you've spent a year or more developing a product. Probably hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. You're betting your future and the future of a lot of people on this investment.
Or you're a bigwig executive at some corporation and you've spent millions and millions of dollars of shareholder money to develop a new product (or major enhancement to an existing product). You've made serious commitments to the C-levels and the board.
I am officially telling you that your odds of success are approximately 1 in 100. Perhaps a 1 in 10 chance of "just scraping by".
Your product will not live up to expectations. You will lose a lot of money on the product. You'll quite possibly lose your company or job, or suffer a significant career setback. Other people in the organization will be impacted.
How to Succeed?
Now is where I shift the tone of this article and tell you how to succeed, right? Umm, no. My goal is to deliver on the promise I made in the title - how to pretty much eliminate any chance of success and how to reduce the odds of "just scraping by" from 10% to perhaps 1%.
In writing this article, I am reflecting back on 25 years of life in the software industry. I'm digging up some memorable disasters, stripping out anything that was done right, and distilling all of that badness into a small number of actionable things that you can do to guarantee product failure.
Note that I didn't say "product launch failure" - I said "product failure." If the product launch process is unsuccessful, the product will fail. That's the way it works.
I'm not making that up. Check around - Google the term "product launch definition." Pragmatic Marketing - a champion of bringing real, grown-up, measurable and effective marketing to the software industry defines it as "the process of bringing a product to market in such a way that it generates sales velocity." No sales velocity = no success.
Note: Avoid browsing the Pragmatic Marketing website. It is chock-full of "best practices," and other such things that are focused on maximizing success.
What do I mean by "product failure" - the product doesn't sell. Sales of the product don't meet expectations. The commitments made to investors, the board, C-levels are broken. Money that is spent on staffing up in anticipation of a successful product is wasted.
There are two major predictors of whether a product will be successful in the marketplace:
1) Does the product do something important?
2) Is there a strong plan to "bring the product to market"?
If the answer to either one of these answers is "NO," then you've succeeded in creating a plan for failure.
Six-Point Plan for Recovery
Congratulations. Rather than leaving failure to chance, you've planned for it - nearly guaranteed it.
That gives you extra time to plan for the "post-failure recovery plan," which is important. Although I'm quite critical of the typical level of marketing maturity in the software industry, I can say without a doubt that software marketeers are some of the best "recovery planners" in the business.
From what I've observed, a six-point plan is optimal. These tasks should be followed in order - if done well, you may only need to go as far as item #2,#3 or #4.
1) Start talking about external factors - the economy, the competition, etc.
2) If at all possible, get promoted ahead of the "crash and burn"
3) Backpedal on goals and commitments and otherwise reset expectations that were "too aggressive and unrealistic" - get the board and the C-suite to own the mistake
4) Blame the sales department for lack of execution and get the head of sales sacked
5) Shift the focus to product development because the product isn't good enough (this rarely works, but it will buy you some time)
6) Try to re-launch the product (truly a last-ditch "Hail Mary" maneuver)
Hopefully I've convinced you that the path to destroying a perfectly good product lies in sabotaging the product launch. That way you maximize the damage to the company and to yourself.
Simply creating a bad product is an inferior option - there's a strong likelihood that the product will get canceled and thus the damage minimized. Or the product might be a sales success even though the product itself is weak (the first three releases of products for one particular software vendor are often cited).
My next article, scheduled for release tomorrow, will provide a detailed template on how to architect a "crash and burn" product launch - as well as a checklist for you to follow, so you can make sure you've gotten everything wrong.
SYS-CON Events announced today that eCube Systems, a leading provider of middleware modernization, integration, and management solutions, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. eCube Systems offers a family of middleware evolution products and services that maximize return on technology investment by leveraging existing technical equity to meet evolving business needs. ...
Aug. 30, 2016 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 879
Let's just nip the conflation of these terms in the bud, shall we?
"MIcro" is big these days. Both microservices and microsegmentation are having and will continue to have an impact on data center architecture, but not necessarily for the same reasons. There's a growing trend in which folks - particularly those with a network background - conflate the two and use them to mean the same thing.
They are not.
One is about the application. The other, the network. T...
Aug. 30, 2016 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 4,755
[session] Architecting for the Cloud By @RagsS | @CloudExpo @IBMBluemix #Cloud #Docker #Microservices
As the world moves toward more DevOps and Microservices, application deployment to the cloud ought to become a lot simpler. The Microservices architecture, which is the basis of many new age distributed systems such as OpenStack, NetFlix and so on, is at the heart of Cloud Foundry - a complete developer-oriented Platform as a Service (PaaS) that is IaaS agnostic and supports vCloud, OpenStack and AWS. Serverless computing is revolutionizing computing. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Raghav...
Aug. 30, 2016 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,057
The following fictional case study is a composite of actual horror stories I’ve heard over the years. Unfortunately, this scenario often occurs when in-house integration teams take on the complexities of DevOps and ALM integration with an enterprise service bus (ESB) or custom integration. It is written from the perspective of an enterprise architect tasked with leading an organization’s effort to adopt Agile to become more competitive. The company has turned to Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) as ...
Aug. 30, 2016 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 984
If you are within a stones throw of the DevOps marketplace you have undoubtably noticed the growing trend in Microservices. Whether you have been staying up to date with the latest articles and blogs or you just read the definition for the first time, these 5 Microservices Resources You Need In Your Life will guide you through the ins and outs of Microservices in today’s world.
Aug. 30, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 5,235
This is a no-hype, pragmatic post about why I think you should consider architecting your next project the way SOA and/or microservices suggest. No matter if it’s a greenfield approach or if you’re in dire need of refactoring. Please note: considering still keeps open the option of not taking that approach. After reading this, you will have a better idea about whether building multiple small components instead of a single, large component makes sense for your project. This post assumes that you...
Aug. 30, 2016 08:30 AM EDT Reads: 5,321
This complete kit provides a proven process and customizable documents that will help you evaluate rapid application delivery platforms and select the ideal partner for building mobile and web apps for your organization.
Aug. 30, 2016 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,085
Monitoring of Docker environments is challenging. Why? Because each container typically runs a single process, has its own environment, utilizes virtual networks, or has various methods of managing storage. Traditional monitoring solutions take metrics from each server and applications they run. These servers and applications running on them are typically very static, with very long uptimes. Docker deployments are different: a set of containers may run many applications, all sharing the resource...
Aug. 30, 2016 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,126
SYS-CON Events announced today that Isomorphic Software will exhibit at DevOps Summit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Isomorphic Software provides the SmartClient HTML5/AJAX platform, the most advanced technology for building rich, cutting-edge enterprise web applications for desktop and mobile. SmartClient combines the productivity and performance of traditional desktop software with the simp...
Aug. 30, 2016 05:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,479
Sharding has become a popular means of achieving scalability in application architectures in which read/write data separation is not only possible, but desirable to achieve new heights of concurrency. The premise is that by splitting up read and write duties, it is possible to get better overall performance at the cost of a slight delay in consistency. That is, it takes a bit of time to replicate changes initiated by a "write" to the read-only master database. It's eventually consistent, and it'...
Aug. 30, 2016 05:30 AM EDT Reads: 3,253
With so much going on in this space you could be forgiven for thinking you were always working with yesterday’s technologies. So much change, so quickly. What do you do if you have to build a solution from the ground up that is expected to live in the field for at least 5-10 years? This is the challenge we faced when we looked to refresh our existing 10-year-old custom hardware stack to measure the fullness of trash cans and compactors.
Aug. 30, 2016 02:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,867
The emerging Internet of Everything creates tremendous new opportunities for customer engagement and business model innovation. However, enterprises must overcome a number of critical challenges to bring these new solutions to market. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Martin, CTO/CIO at nfrastructure, outlined these key challenges and recommended approaches for overcoming them to achieve speed and agility in the design, development and implementation of Internet of Everything solutions wi...
Aug. 30, 2016 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,252
A company’s collection of online systems is like a delicate ecosystem – all components must integrate with and complement each other, and one single malfunction in any of them can bring the entire system to a screeching halt. That’s why, when monitoring and analyzing the health of your online systems, you need a broad arsenal of different tools for your different needs. In addition to a wide-angle lens that provides a snapshot of the overall health of your system, you must also have precise, ...
Aug. 30, 2016 01:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,715
It's been a busy time for tech's ongoing infatuation with containers. Amazon just announced EC2 Container Registry to simply container management. The new Azure container service taps into Microsoft's partnership with Docker and Mesosphere. You know when there's a standard for containers on the table there's money on the table, too. Everyone is talking containers because they reduce a ton of development-related challenges and make it much easier to move across production and testing environm...
Aug. 29, 2016 11:45 PM EDT Reads: 5,282
Aug. 29, 2016 10:45 PM EDT Reads: 4,921
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
Aug. 29, 2016 10:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,502
There's a lot of things we do to improve the performance of web and mobile applications. We use caching. We use compression. We offload security (SSL and TLS) to a proxy with greater compute capacity. We apply image optimization and minification to content. We do all that because performance is king. Failure to perform can be, for many businesses, equivalent to an outage with increased abandonment rates and angry customers taking to the Internet to express their extreme displeasure.
Aug. 29, 2016 08:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,456
Right off the bat, Newman advises that we should "think of microservices as a specific approach for SOA in the same way that XP or Scrum are specific approaches for Agile Software development". These analogies are very interesting because my expectation was that microservices is a pattern. So I might infer that microservices is a set of process techniques as opposed to an architectural approach. Yet in the book, Newman clearly includes some elements of concept model and architecture as well as p...
Aug. 29, 2016 07:30 PM EDT Reads: 10,908
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
Aug. 29, 2016 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,996
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Am...
Aug. 29, 2016 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 3,580