Sunday, November 1, 2009

Simplicity Leads To Prosperity

I read this very simple yet sensible article on the Internet today that does a very good job of telling us about the very basics that are required to start a decent startup - the basics that most people (failed companies?) do not focus on. I will (in 2 parts) list all the 8 points that Steve Spalding mentions in that article, and try to add my own views and interpretations.

#1 Bad communication is the death of small companies.

"Get development and marketing on the same page as soon as you can."

Most of us are probably familiar with the never ending conflicts between the design/development and marketing teams. The design team wants the product to be marketed in a certain way, and the marketing team usually doesn't listen to them and comes up with its own strategies - the justification being that it understands consumer behavior better. The marketing team may not realize that the new product may have some features that would totally change the way consumers use that product - it may be bring a totally new experience that would make everyone's life much more easy and exciting.

Understanding consumer behavior is important, but it does not mean that the design team's opinions should be ignored. Being on the same page can create a win win situation for everybody.

#2 You make your product, your community designs it.

"Don’t get so caught up in your idea that you build a product your users don’t understand."

I agree.

Excess of everything is bad. The idea is to provide a service or product to the user community that they would appreciate, not to confuse them with too many options and create unnecessary complexities. Give them the basics first, and then slowly start adding more features based on their feedback. Bells and whistles are nice, but sometimes they are really not necessary.

# 3 You’re not important.

"You are not some creative genius that discovered the mysteries of the Universe. Keep yourself in perspective and learn to take advice."

I would like to mention that I know of a real world example (a new Indian restaurant in my town) that really did not conform to this statement. The owner tried a little too hard - and did not succeed. He offered beef in the restaurant, and did not serve the Indian bread (naan) that we all are so used to eating in a typical Indian restaurant. He perhaps thought that the beef dishes would attract more white folks to the restaurant, but what he perhaps did not realize is the fact that Beef is something customers are not used to seeing at an Indian restaurant. Many Indian customers were bound to get grossed out. And no naan? That is just plain wrong.

We may come up with some great ideas, but we also have to realize that what we think is right may be completely wrong for the majority of our target market.

#4 Talk to everyone.

"The more narrowly you focus on throne room, the more unlikely it will be that you’ll see the barbarians knocking at your door. Get out there and look around."

It is definitely important to include as many perspectives as possible to get the final finished product you desire. Talking to people always helps to understand and gather some very important information that we may have unintentionally ignored. This information would help us focus on our main goal.

These are the first four points from Steve Spalding's article. Read the full article here.

Feedback from all of you would be greatly appreciated.


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