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The most important skill needed by indie developers

"This app is tooooo bad!" my friend exclaimed when I showed him a website I made.

He said this the way someone might call their girlfriend a Bad Bitch when she did something that made them happy.

He explained how much he loved the workflow, the simplicity in the design, how fast the pages were loading and how the web-app engaged him and made him feel happy.

I remember replying "You really think so?"

I asked this the way a girl might ask her friends if they really thought her outfit was that hot.

I was in doubt, I wasn't feeling so hot cause the site metrics were bad... and not the bad bitch kinda bad.

For many years I thought that because the internet was democratic If I built the best applications people would find it and gravitate towards it on their own. I thought the best web applications always won over time, but over time I learned the hard way this is not true.

In the developer community, Marketing is a dirty word. Sleazy adverts, company lies, and spin come to mind when someone mentions marketing. A friend of mine told me he was against marketing his application because he felt he was boasting about what he had created and boasting was a sin. At the time I could relate but now I cannot. Marketing is letting the world know what you have to offer.

venn diagram of marketing and developer skills

Improving your marketing abilities is the single most valuable thing a developer can add to their arsenal. Have you ever seen an app that is so inefficient, broken and old but it makes a boat load of cash? That's the power of marketing. Do you have a friend who seems to be getting job offers without interviewing? That's the power of marketing.

How did Hillary Clinton lose an election to Donald Trump when on paper her resume for president blows his out of the water? Marketing! This starts to make sense when you remember Trumps most valuable asset is "His Brand". He is a master promoter and salesman.

Trump's campaign estimates his brand to be worth $3.32 billion. It's specifically listed in the line item "real estate licensing deals, brand and branded developments," according to a net worth assessment filed in 2015. - CNBC

Marketing is defined as: The action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.

Many great creations languish in the developer world, because a lot of people who are great developers do not have the personality type to be a natural salesperson, but if you are a Founder, Freelancer or you have a small business, improving your skills and understanding of how marketing works is the best thing you can do for your business. If marketing helps bad products, imagine what happens when you align good marketing with a good product... You get the revenue of the iPhone.

I am still bad at marketing, I have a hard time putting my products out there in front of the world and being vulnerable to criticism. Marketing is something I work on regularly. That is why this blog exists and that is why I give lectures on software when I can. If you are reading this and you personally do not know me, that means something I have learned works and maybe it can work for you too.

Here are a few books I recommend if you want to get better at letting the world know what you or your business has to offer:

Show Your Work: Helped me stop being afraid of sharing unfinished work and building an audience and getting feedback during the process.

Traction: Opened my eyes to different marketing channels and how to use them to get and maintain customers.

Hello my name is Awesome: Helped me to understand branding and its significance in a product.

Growth Hacker Marketing: Gave good ideas on how to grow a product.

Hopefully, your "bad app" can get some bad ass metrics too.

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