Posts Tagged Strategy

Designing for change, keeping customers uncomfortable

The degree to which you keep your customers uncomfortable is a choice, whether you’ve made the choice intentionally or not. If you’re building or running a software product, figure out where you want to be on this spectrum.

This is my take on the pros and cons of frequent vs. infrequent change and how to best serve your customers based on your chosen strategy.

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Effective “Press” and “Media” pages

Your site can probably do more to serve journalists, bloggers, reporters, and promoters. An often-overlooked page for smaller- and medium-sized websites is a Press or Media page. Why not make it easier for people to write about your products, people, company, or services?

I’ve written a new Playbook article about Press & Media pages. Read on for more information about the topics that I cover.

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Simplistic vs. simple in product design

We’ve all heard of it before: “I want something simple.” People get tired of products that present them with so many choices that they don’t know where to go next.

When you’re building a product, this sentiment can sometimes lead you down the deceptive path of simplistic.

There is an important difference between the terms though.

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Effective “About us” page tips, best practices, and guidelines

I scoured the Web for examples and best practices for About Us pages on websites. I compiled an article with tips, best practices, and guidelines for creating an effective About Us page in the Playbook.

Topics covered in the article:

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New in the Playbook: “Contact us” pages

Now in the Playbook is an article with tips, best practices, and guidelines for creating an effective Contact Us page.

Included in the article are the following:

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Quitting consulting

If you’re just starting your business like I am, then you need to decide: Am I a freelancer or an entrepreneur? As my life had been growing increasingly complex, I was faced with this very decision.

Yes, this advice has been dispensed by many before. The point of this particular post is to tell my story and persuade you to not repeat this mistake if you find yourself in a similar situation.

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Becoming the authority

Sometimes there just isn’t room for you at the top. If you’re in a field with experts and join late, then you’re going to have a hell of a time getting to authority status. It’s not impossible, but you’re setting yourself up for a tough fight.

I’ve been finding myself in that spot over the past couple days. I’ll talk a little about the options I have available and where I want to go. (Maybe you’ll pick an idea up too.)

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When your software becomes a commodity

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the business of software and how it’s changing. It’s expensive to produce software, but the rewards are there if you produce something special.

But what happens when your software becomes a commodity? It’s not quite as special as it used to be. I believe that you should release it as open source.

Read on to see my reasoning. You may still be able to pull ideas from this post, even if you don’t necessarily sell software. Other things can be “open sourced” as well.

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Vision and management

I really like this idea about management, transcribed from a 1986 speech by Richard Hamming:

When your vision of what you want to do is what you can do single-handedly, then you should pursue it. The day your vision, what you think needs to be done, is bigger than what you can do single-handedly, then you have to move toward management. And the bigger the vision is, the farther in management you have to go.

The bigger your vision is, the bigger the ship that you need to steer to get to that vision. Just this idea alone can tell you where you need to go in your career and whether you’re on that ultimate goal.

It can also be a criticism of leaders that have no vision. Why are managers in their current positions if they have no vision of where to go?

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Design first

I’m working on building an elaborate marketing and e-commerce system. I just don’t feel like anyone has done it right, so I’m taking a stab at it.

Here’s why I think the other software vendors have done such a poor job: lack of design in their process. I intend to make a system that’s pleasant and easy to use, that “gets out of the way” of users’ tasks. And I’m not going to get there without design.

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