Building Software = Building a House

  • Saying NO. The hardest thing to do is to say no to customers (especially the big ones), employees, and yourself. There are so many things you want to do to improve your house. Buying the new Wolf stove, upgrading the tile in your guest bathroom, fixing the master bedroom. But so many of those improvements only incrementally improve the house.
  • Deciding on improving the software for Small/Medium business (SMB’s) or Enterprise improvements. Straddling both categories is a giant challenge. So many companies focus on Enterprise first because they have large budgets. But that cash comes with a price. They expect you to meet high compliance standards, demand quality support AND often want their hands on the rudder of your development path. Every Enterprise customer adds another voice and challenge to your roadmap. Also, with such a dependance on those big customers losing one can derail your budget or even sink a company. SMB’s take a long time to acquire momentum and require you to simplify, simplify, simplify and focus on features that affect the most users. Think of the difference in fixing one bedroom and making it luxurious but with very few people living in it or fixing the kitchen sink that everyone in the house uses . . .
  • The giant version jump. Sometimes you hit the end of what the original design and architecture can support. Whether it is new frameworks, technologies, etc. you may have to rewrite some or all of your software and then move customers over to the new system. This is one of the hardest transformations you’ll make as a leader of a technology company. It is like living in two houses at the same time. My advice is to move fast and pull the band-aid off as soon as you get to a viable product and spend all your money improving the new house vs. sustaining two.

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Paul Mabray

Paul Mabray

Wine Revolutionary. Digital, CRM, CX, Start-ups, Social Media, Hospitality (especially wine) are my jam.