Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Lori MacVittie, Sematext Blog, Liz McMillan, Daniel Khan

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Agile Computing

Microservices Expo: Article

How to Wreck a Good Product in 90 Days or Less

Why settle for success when you can guarantee failure?

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.

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.

Predicting Failure
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.

Recovery Plan:

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)

Moving Forward
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.

More Stories By Hollis Tibbetts

Hollis Tibbetts, or @SoftwareHollis as his 50,000+ followers know him on Twitter, is listed on various “top 100 expert lists” for a variety of topics – ranging from Cloud to Technology Marketing, Hollis is by day Evangelist & Software Technology Director at Dell Software. By night and weekends he is a commentator, speaker and all-round communicator about Software, Data and Cloud in their myriad aspects. You can also reach Hollis on LinkedIn – linkedin.com/in/SoftwareHollis. His latest online venture is OnlineBackupNews - a free reference site to help organizations protect their data, applications and systems from threats. Every year IT Downtime Costs $26.5 Billion In Lost Revenue. Even with such high costs, 56% of enterprises in North America and 30% in Europe don’t have a good disaster recovery plan. Online Backup News aims to make sure you all have the news and tips needed to keep your IT Costs down and your information safe by providing best practices, technology insights, strategies, real-world examples and various tips and techniques from a variety of industry experts.

Hollis is a regularly featured blogger at ebizQ, a venue focused on enterprise technologies, with over 100,000 subscribers. He is also an author on Social Media Today "The World's Best Thinkers on Social Media", and maintains a blog focused on protecting data: Online Backup News.
He tweets actively as @SoftwareHollis

Additional information is available at HollisTibbetts.com

All opinions expressed in the author's articles are his own personal opinions vs. those of his employer.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
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...
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'...
Node.js and io.js are increasingly being used to run JavaScript on the server side for many types of applications, such as websites, real-time messaging and controllers for small devices with limited resources. For DevOps it is crucial to monitor the whole application stack and Node.js is rapidly becoming an important part of the stack in many organizations. Sematext has historically had a strong support for monitoring big data applications such as Elastic (aka Elasticsearch), Cassandra, Solr, S...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
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.
Ovum, a leading technology analyst firm, has published an in-depth report, Ovum Decision Matrix: Selecting a DevOps Release Management Solution, 2016–17. The report focuses on the automation aspects of DevOps, Release Management and compares solutions from the leading vendors.
No matter how well-built your applications are, countless issues can cause performance problems, putting the platforms they are running on under scrutiny. If you've moved to Node.js to power your applications, you may be at risk of these issues calling your choice into question. How do you identify vulnerabilities and mitigate risk to take the focus off troubleshooting the technology and back where it belongs, on innovation? There is no doubt that Node.js is one of today's leading platforms of ...
Adding public cloud resources to an existing application can be a daunting process. The tools that you currently use to manage the software and hardware outside the cloud aren’t always the best tools to efficiently grow into the cloud. All of the major configuration management tools have cloud orchestration plugins that can be leveraged, but there are also cloud-native tools that can dramatically improve the efficiency of managing your application lifecycle. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, 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. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, 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. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
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...

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...

The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
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.
Before becoming a developer, I was in the high school band. I played several brass instruments - including French horn and cornet - as well as keyboards in the jazz stage band. A musician and a nerd, what can I say? I even dabbled in writing music for the band. Okay, mostly I wrote arrangements of pop music, so the band could keep the crowd entertained during Friday night football games. What struck me then was that, to write parts for all the instruments - brass, woodwind, percussion, even k...
This digest provides an overview of good resources that are well worth reading. We’ll be updating this page as new content becomes available, so I suggest you bookmark it. Also, expect more digests to come on different topics that make all of our IT-hearts go boom!
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor – all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
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...
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...
In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Yoseph Reuveni, Director of Software Engineering at Jet.com, will discuss Jet.com's journey into containerizing Microsoft-based technologies like C# and F# into Docker. He will talk about lessons learned and challenges faced, the Mono framework tryout and how they deployed everything into Azure cloud. Yoseph Reuveni is a technology leader with unique experience developing and running high throughput (over 1M tps) distributed systems with extre...