Entries Tagged as 'Development'

Eating your own dog food

There are many varieties of commercial dog foo...

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In the world of software development, there’s a term called “eating one’s own dog food” that should mean something to anyone that has ever had a product to sell. Basically, the meaning behind it is that one should always use their own product. There are not only many benefits to do so, but it also gives you multiple perspectives on where the product cycle should go and what kind of changes should be made.
In my own case, this definitely can be applied to Merchant’s Mirror. We not only use it for our own books, but I have paid accounts for other businesses where I do my accounting. This gives me something special that many of the other people that are actually selling their products do not have. It gives me the perspective of the customer. So I also understand the joys and frustrations coming from those of my clientele which allows me to connect on a totally different level.
The biggest achievement here is not the fact that you could perhaps fix bugs before the public finds them. If that’s your goal, then that’s not a very good one (although fixing bugs is actually a good thing). Your priority should be to figure out what your customer wants and in being both your consumer base and production team, you gain knowledge of why your customer operates in the certain way that they would and why they would want a feature that you could have deemed useless otherwise.
Finding this out is not only beneficial to all, but it builds a relationship that you can’t counter. Don’t forget the one major thing in the world of business. If you have the greatest product in the world, and no one to use it, then it might as well be a lousy product. That developer and customer relationship is crucial for any business to be successful.

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Is social networking right for your product?

At a recent dinner meeting for digital media executives, they asked me several questions about social networking, and how I viewed the digital medium. I explained my views on advertising and subscribers but then we got into social networking.
Don’t get me wrong, social networking is great. It fits a niche and helps drive different types of advertising. But the question is more of, is social networking right for your product? Let’s take the powerhouse Facebook for example since currently they’re one of the social kings. Have you ever noticed that they’ve never ever offered to take more detailed personal information in a survey form? Perhaps incentives to get you to give it up? Why not? They advertise, but they blanket advertise. To me, that’s just a waste, especially in a social medium.
When given a social medium, you’re already grouping your audiences together by whatever. For example, college alumni will be parts of alumni groups. Thus, this information is invaluable for those vendors that sell school products or even discounted plane tickets to X,Y,Z game. There are all sorts of ways to target your audience in a social medium, especially in such a clean interface as FaceBook.
Another question you must ask is, is social networking right for your product? Or are you just leaping on the bandwagon because that’s the funky new internet term that you’ve picked up this year? Social networking is great as long as you understand how your audience views your current product and can be applied in a similar fashion. But in the case that your audience doesn’t usually share your product with others anyways, then it becomes a useless gimmick that is a costly expense. Think of it in this fashion. With the street racing, aftermarket parts such as NOS tanks and stabilizers are very useful. But if you’re driving a Yugo and you stick a NOS system on it, then not only is it pretty useless, but you weren’t in the same league to start.
The real determination when it comes to products is that while new Internet tools and terminology is great to be a part of and you want to leverage the hot tech terminology, if it doesn’t fit your product then don’t use it. Product design and development is a process of research and analysis, not so much of marketing fads. Can the two be mixed? Sure, as long as you keep them separated. The moment you start leaping on bandwagons without understanding why, could be the downfall of your product line.
Photo Credit: (JoonYoung.Kim)