Remember back in the 90’s when it was somewhat tough being an Independent Software Vendor due to the simple fact that you were never sure if Microsoft was going to enter your niche and simply buy up your competition or create something of their own? They didn’t even have to create anything wonderful, just a product that was functional and they had already dominated that industry. The first release would get bashed by the public, but they would continuously pump out new releases that got better and better till there was no more competition. Those days weren’t very fun.
Now we have to worry about Google doing exactly what Microsoft did in the past. Last week Google launched Google Reader and it received many mixed reviews, however like Microsoft in the past, they didn’t have to release a product that was better, they just had to get one out and they have almost already won the online RSS reader wars (I know many of you geeks will never switch from your default reader, but I am looking at the millions and millions of people who don’t use your readers).
Not too long ago Bloglines dominated, but they grew complacent and new features or designs have been far and few between. Because of this new services such as Rojo have come and stolen much of the thunder and even worse Google is primed to now take all of the attention.
Same thing occurred with Google’s Blog Search. Google moves at the speed of a small company because its products are only worked on by a small team of people. Just because your product may be better it doesn’t give you the right to rest on your laurels because Om Malik or the guys at TechCrunch mentioned how wonderful it was. Everyday you have to wakeup and assume a big player is going to join the game. I know these are the happy money times, but you have to develop in fear. In fear that someone smaller and faster is going to launch today. In fear that Yahoo/Google/Microsoft will decided they want a piece of the pie. In fear that your customers will turn against you.
A couple of people question why we add so many sites so fast to the Network. It’s because I don’t want to look behind me one day and wonder our competition is catching up. I don’t want to have to wonder how we let it get like this or why we grew complacent. It’s not enough to be just one step ahead, you have to be 10 miles ahead. If that means doing things a bit unconventionally then so be it. I also understand that growing too fast can be detrimental to our image and so we are doing new things to take care of these issues. Developing in fear doesn’t mean just looking behind you because you have to know what’s ahead of you as well.
Same goes with this blog. I write often for fear that I will be forgotten one day. Maybe having the best blog doesn’t mean much to you, but it could mean the difference between getting a client or not. It could be the difference between being recognized by 10 other blogs or just one. They say every second a new blog is born. That means there is another second that your blog could be forgotten by your readers. Why give them that option?
If you are a follower of the eXtreme programming methodology you know that one of the mantras is “release fast, release often” (sorry, 37signals did not come up with this). Well I think you should apply this to your web app, your blog, or even your client work, but should add one more part to it.
Release fast, release often, release quality.
It’s tough for anybody to beat that.
Originally posted on October 10, 2005 @ 10:28 am