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Friday, January 7, 2011

Marketing lessons from destroying the death star…

As a kid I knew my obsession with Star Wars would one day pay off. 

Most fans like to quote Yoda and the stanzas full of wisdom he shared with Luke on his journey to fulfilling his destiny as the last hope of the resistance against the evil empire.  Me, I have a different inspiration.  My guru is Gold Leader.  His instructions to the team were critical to the destruction of the death star… “STAY ON TARGET!”

The older I get, the more I think that one group of people who have forgotten the advice of Gold Leader are the folks who make decisions in the software industry.  Industries with more history seem to have less trouble staying on target.  Pharmaceutical companies swing for home run products exclusively, their goal: release a billion dollar product every few years.  Fast food the opposite; their target is a different one… volume.  Get as many people in and out as fast as possible.  We’ll make our fortunes 99 cents at a time.

I’ve noticed that a lot of software companies seem to have a bit of an identity crisis.  Do we want a low cost high volume product that can be purchased on a credit card, or do we want to have a complex product that requires millions dollar budgets and an army of consultants, but only needs a handful of customers every year.  Hey I’ve got an idea.  Why don’t we carry a portfolio of both!  That way our salespeople will be stretched so thin that they have no idea what to sell.  

Software is funny like that.  I suppose it comes with the territory with technology people.  The next version or next project will always be bigger and better.  It doesn’t help that enterprise customers always want to make things more complicated than they should be by pushing for simple products to do complex tasks.  On the flip side even successful large solution companies seem to be getting App fever these days, trying to streamline and strip down something that should never be naked.

But hey, maybe I’m the only one who sees this as a problem.  Well, me and Gold leader anyway…


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