/ lesson

No one gives a shit

One of the best advice or statements that have influenced my thinking on building and selling web-applications was one I got from a VC during a Google sponsored Entrepreneur lecture series I attended. He said "I want to tell you guys a secret, No one gives a shit about your apps..." he goes on to explain that most people when they ask you "What are you working on?" most people start listening and subconsciously start analyzing how what you are saying affects their life. A good illustration is whenever I have told someone "I am a software developer" and I see their face light up, it isn't usually because they think Software developers are the new Mother Theresa. It is usually because they have this cool App idea that they think I would love, or they want to become a software developer. It always bounces back to how what you are saying affects them.

Now I did not find this intriguing because I have a cynical view of the world, actually the opposite. I found this to be a good tool in marketing your product or whatever it is one is selling.

I was talking to a friend this evening and he told me he was working on an interactive learning tool. This was the third time he had told me this, but I kept forgetting what it was he was working on, my mind just glazed over it again and again. I asked him if he had any clients yet, he said he is talking to some principals of some schools and they seem interested. I said "you should probably ask them for an advance", he smiled. but I was not kidding, if I had a dollar for everyone who has promised me they would buy what I was making but when the time came, could not part with $10... man... but I digress.

I then suggested, instead of telling these principals you have an interactive learning tool, because honestly what is "An interactive learning tool"? Why don't you tell them "I can save you money by helping you teach more students with less staff" cause at the end of the day that's the value interactive learning tools bring to the table and most schools are profit-making ventures. The principal's job is not really to provide the best education for the future of our world but to have a nice fat bottom line. Ok the first one is also the principal's job too but you know... prioritiesđŸ˜….

Tell them "I can save you money by helping you teach more students with less staff" cause at the end of the day that's the value ...

The point here is to realize that the best way to sell software to someone is to frame your solution in their context. It comes naturally to a developer to be Objective, precise and specific when talking about what they are working on but the truth is most people don't care. No one cares what server you are using, what new cutting-edge framework is behind it or how complex your machine learning algorithm is. If you want to pierce through the glaze in their eyes, speak to how your work affects their life.

This also comes in handy when deciding what feature to build next. Never build the one that is technically profound or defends your product from copycats, only build the features that your clients have asked you for so much that you have nightmares about it and features that will open up a new market for you, because if you are not solving someone's problem No one gives a shit.