Welcome!

Weblogic Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Michael Meiner, Michael Bushong, Avi Rosenthal

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Agile Computing

Microservices Expo: Article

How to Wreck a Good Product in 90 Days or Less

Why settle for success when you can guarantee failure?

The purpose of this article is to tell you how to take a perfectly good (or even a great) product that you've potentially spent years and millions of dollars creating - and thoroughly and efficiently ruin it in the shortest amount of time possible.

"Why would I want to do that?," you might ask.  Honestly, I don't know why.  But there must be a good reason because I see it happen with shocking regularity.

For those of you who have read my article "Are You Your Own Worst Enemy?," that article was written to help products succeed in the marketplace.  I'd advise you to ignore that article, as it's advice runs contrary to the purpose of this article - achieving market failure.

So, You've Developed a Great Product....
My frame of reference tends to be software - but the principals apply just as well to hardware, any "high tech" product, even consumer packaged goods.  Perhaps you or your company has created the next great SaaS or Cloud software product.  Or maybe it's the most amazing Ketchup the world has ever tasted.  The concept remains the same.

No matter the industry, we're talking about scenarios where you've invested a lot of time and money to create a product, and now it's time to think about bringing it to market and hope that you sell a lot of it.

A Product Launch
Bringing a new product to market is a marketing and sales process (not an event) called a Product Launch.  It is one of the most critical parts of a go-to-market strategy.

Very few of them are successful - only 3% of them.  I didn't make that number up - it's in an April 2011 article in the Harvard Business Review.  And 3% is optimistic - it's based on Consumer Packaged Goods vendors like Proctor & Gamble - companies that do marketing better than any other industry "period."  If anyone can pull off a successful product launch, it's a company like P&G.

If these heavily marketing-driven companies only achieve product launch success 3% of the time, the track record for Software - with its notoriously incompetent, sloppy, shoot from the hip, metrics-free, measurement-free and methodology-free marketing approach is at best 1%. Most software succeeds despite marketing, not because of it.

Take a Moment and Reflect
You're an entrepreneur and you've spent a year or more developing a product.  Probably hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.  You're betting your future and the future of a lot of people on this investment.

Or you're a bigwig executive at some corporation and you've spent millions and millions of dollars of shareholder money to develop a new product (or major enhancement to an existing product).  You've made serious commitments to the C-levels and the board.

I am officially telling you that your odds of success are approximately 1 in 100.  Perhaps a 1 in 10 chance of "just scraping by".

Your product will not live up to expectations.  You will lose a lot of money on the product.  You'll quite possibly lose your company or job, or suffer a significant career setback.  Other people in the organization will be impacted.

How to Succeed?
Now is where I shift the tone of this article and tell you how to succeed, right?  Umm, no.  My goal is to deliver on the promise I made in the title - how to pretty much eliminate any chance of success and how to reduce the odds of "just scraping by" from 10% to perhaps 1%.

In writing this article, I am reflecting back on 25 years of life in the software industry.  I'm digging up some memorable disasters, stripping out anything that was done right, and distilling all of that badness into a small number of actionable things that you can do to guarantee product failure.

Product Failure
Note that I didn't say "product launch failure" - I said "product failure."  If the product launch process is unsuccessful, the product will fail.  That's the way it works.

I'm not making that up.  Check around - Google the term "product launch definition."  Pragmatic Marketing - a champion of bringing real, grown-up, measurable and effective marketing to the software industry defines it as "the process of bringing a product to market in such a way that it generates sales velocity." No sales velocity = no success.

Note: Avoid browsing the Pragmatic Marketing website. It is chock-full of "best practices," and other such things that are focused on maximizing success.

What do I mean by "product failure" - the product doesn't sell. Sales of the product don't meet expectations. The commitments made to investors, the board, C-levels are broken.  Money that is spent on staffing up in anticipation of a successful product is wasted.

Predicting Failure
There are two major predictors of whether a product will be successful in the marketplace:

1) Does the product do something important?

2) Is there a strong plan to "bring the product to market"?

If the answer to either one of these answers is "NO," then you've succeeded in creating a plan for failure.

Six-Point Plan for Recovery
Congratulations. Rather than leaving failure to chance, you've planned for it - nearly guaranteed it.

That gives you extra time to plan for the "post-failure recovery plan," which is important.  Although I'm quite critical of the typical level of marketing maturity in the software industry, I can say without a doubt that software marketeers are some of the best "recovery planners" in the business.

From what I've observed, a six-point plan is optimal. These tasks should be followed in order - if done well, you may only need to go as far as item #2,#3 or #4.

Recovery Plan:

1) Start talking about external factors - the economy, the competition, etc.

2) If at all possible, get promoted ahead of the "crash and burn"

3) Backpedal on goals and commitments and otherwise reset expectations that were "too aggressive and unrealistic" - get the board and the C-suite to own the mistake

4) Blame the sales department for lack of execution and get the head of sales sacked

5) Shift the focus to product development because the product isn't good enough (this rarely works, but it will buy you some time)

6)  Try to re-launch the product (truly a last-ditch "Hail Mary" maneuver)

Moving Forward
Hopefully I've convinced you that the path to destroying a perfectly good product lies in sabotaging the product launch. That way you maximize the damage to the company and to yourself.

Simply creating a bad product is an inferior option - there's a strong likelihood that the product will get canceled and thus the damage minimized. Or the product might be a sales success even though the product itself is weak (the first three releases of products for one particular software vendor are often cited).

My next article, scheduled for release tomorrow, will provide a detailed template on how to architect a "crash and burn" product launch - as well as a checklist for you to follow, so you can make sure you've gotten everything wrong.

More Stories By Hollis Tibbetts

Hollis Tibbetts, or @SoftwareHollis as his 50,000+ followers know him on Twitter, is listed on various “top 100 expert lists” for a variety of topics – ranging from Cloud to Technology Marketing, Hollis is by day Evangelist & Software Technology Director at Dell Software. By night and weekends he is a commentator, speaker and all-round communicator about Software, Data and Cloud in their myriad aspects. You can also reach Hollis on LinkedIn – linkedin.com/in/SoftwareHollis. His latest online venture is OnlineBackupNews - a free reference site to help organizations protect their data, applications and systems from threats. Every year IT Downtime Costs $26.5 Billion In Lost Revenue. Even with such high costs, 56% of enterprises in North America and 30% in Europe don’t have a good disaster recovery plan. Online Backup News aims to make sure you all have the news and tips needed to keep your IT Costs down and your information safe by providing best practices, technology insights, strategies, real-world examples and various tips and techniques from a variety of industry experts.

Hollis is a regularly featured blogger at ebizQ, a venue focused on enterprise technologies, with over 100,000 subscribers. He is also an author on Social Media Today "The World's Best Thinkers on Social Media", and maintains a blog focused on protecting data: Online Backup News.
He tweets actively as @SoftwareHollis

Additional information is available at HollisTibbetts.com

All opinions expressed in the author's articles are his own personal opinions vs. those of his employer.

@ThingsExpo Stories
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, discussed how they built...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Among the proven benefits,...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile exhibited at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on qua...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cedexis will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cedexis is the leader in data-driven enterprise global traffic management. Whether optimizing traffic through datacenters, clouds, CDNs, or any combination, Cedexis solutions drive quality and cost-effectiveness. For more information, please visit https://www.cedexis.com.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Google Cloud has been named “Keynote Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Companies come to Google Cloud to transform their businesses. Google Cloud’s comprehensive portfolio – from infrastructure to apps to devices – helps enterprises innovate faster, scale smarter, stay secure, and do more with data than ever before.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vivint to exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California. As a leading smart home technology provider, Vivint offers home security, energy management, home automation, local cloud storage, and high-speed Internet solutions to more than one million customers throughout the United States and Canada. The end result is a smart home solution that sav...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Opsani will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Opsani is the leading provider of deployment automation systems for running and scaling traditional enterprise applications on container infrastructure.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Nirmata will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Nirmata provides a comprehensive platform, for deploying, operating, and optimizing containerized applications across clouds, powered by Kubernetes. Nirmata empowers enterprise DevOps teams by fully automating the complex operations and management of application containers and its underlying ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Opsani to exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California. Opsani is creating the next generation of automated continuous deployment tools designed specifically for containers. How is continuous deployment different from continuous integration and continuous delivery? CI/CD tools provide build and test. Continuous Deployment is the means by which...