“Get ‘er Done!”

Larry the Cable Guy hit on a winning phrase. Despite the redneck persona that Larry portrays, this concept resonates across all economic spectrums, and it’s particularly appropriate when chasing viral growth.

It’s easy to get wrapped around difficulties and complexities and how something can’t be done. “It’s never been done before.” “It’s impossible.” “It’s too expensive.” “You can’t get there from here.” We’ve heard the reasons.

It would be very easy to turn this into a motivational speech but I don’t want to go there. At all. This “Getting the Job Done” mantra isn’t a motivational tool, it’s a fact of business, a fact of life.

Those that get the job done succeed and enjoy the rewards of that success. Those that don’t get the job done whine. Realistically, there are a lot of competitors. Very seldom do you go into an endeavor with zero competition—a previously untapped market where you’re the only one presenting a solution.

If you don’t get your product designed, built, tested and out the door ahead of the competition, chances are high you’ll be fighting for the leftovers. The software business is so competitive and there are so many brilliant guys thinking up new stuff, you can’t sit around on your duff and casually develop cool stuff that will take the market by storm.

One of the ways to going viral is grabbing a market segment previously untapped, developing a new product that fills that market need and dominating that market before the competition can gain a foothold. Once you’ve got that market segment cornered you own that market and continued success is assured. (You can screw up that market dominance, but that’s a whole different topic.)

Once you’ve got the market dominated, everyone else is fighting for the leftovers. The question is, do you want to be the market dominator or the leftover fighter? The difference is bringing a good product to market first, marketing the hell out of it, servicing the hell out of it.

If you’re not first, the job becomes infinitely harder. So how do you go to market first with a winning product? Obviously you need the product, which means good research and creating a good product. And you need great marketing and support to lead the public to your product.

But you can do all those things and still not go viral. Why? Someone beat you to it.The difference? They got the job done. You can go into details and minutiae about what was done and not done, but the biggest difference is they got it done.

If you want to go viral, you have to have that drive for success, that drive for excellence. You have to live it, breathe it, make it part of your personal and corporate DNA.

You can read all kinds of sports biographies about winning, and they’re great stories. There’s the old Vince Lombardi quote, “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.” The point is, it takes that kind of dedication and drive to be successful and go viral.

Nike’s slogan is “Just Do It.” Whether you prefer Nike’s version or Larry the Cable Guy’s, it all boils down to one thing: Get the job done, no matter the obstacles.

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You Can’t Steal in Slow Motion

I’ve done a few real estate deals and one thing I’ve learned is that when a great deal comes your way, you have to act fast and lock that deal up.

Many will caution you to be wary, make sure you check out the deal thoroughly, no hidden “gotchas” present, perform the due diligence. This is called the “Paralysis of Analysis.” The counter to that is to be so knowledgeable about your market that you can spot the great deal at the blink of an eye. You know the deal is so good that even if there are a few gotchas you still come out ahead. You do a personal walk-through inspection and have an eye good enough to detect obvious warning signs, and conversely, detect the absence of warning signs and determine if it’s because the property really is in good shape or if warning signs have been covered up. (You then follow up with a detailed inspection, covered in the offer, so that if there are huge gotchas you’re covered, but you put the deal in place first.)

My favorite real estate deal was purchased sight unseen. There was a risk involved. But I knew the market, knew the properties I was going after, and when on a lark I called the agent handling that community and was informed he had literally just listed one, I put my offer in that day, negotiated and got it accepted and closed.

I’ve found this also applies when dealing with cars, whether classic or investment-type vehicles or even your next daily driver. You know the market so well, you can shake down a car with a test drive or scrutinize it at an auction and determine the good, bad and ugly (to quote my favorite Clint Eastwood movie title). I’ve had my share of steals this way as well.

The moral of the story is that if you don’t move fast, you lose.

What does this have to do with going viral? This same principle applies: You Can’t Go Viral in Slow Motion. If you can’t develop good software rapidly, you’re settling for mediocrity, because that’s the market status you’ll have and the market share you’re going to be left with.

You can make a respectable living with being mediocre. But in the software business, it’s no darn fun. You have to work hard to develop, sell and deliver even mediocre products. You’re constantly working hard to keep the doors open, cover overhead and payroll, staffing tech support and fielding calls from disgruntled customers. How much more work does it take to be brilliant? Not as much as you think.

The problem with mediocrity is that mediocre is the average. Some stuff is good, some stuff is middle of the road, and some stuff is utter crap. Developing, marketing, selling and supporting a crappy product is not fun. I know from personal experience—we had a vendor build a product for us that looked good but was poorly tested, full of bugs and crashed often. Do you know how much fun it isn’t to talk to customers when you’ve crashed their entire network or brought their entire email system to a screeching halt?

You’re going to have failures. A guy I once worked for taught me, “The guy who doesn’t make a mistake is the guy who doesn’t do anything.” If you have a failure, so what? If you move fast, you fail fast, you analyze what went wrong, you make a better product and the next thing you know, you’re a success!

If your average product is mediocre, one failure can be a company-extinction event. If you have tremendous products, a failure becomes something you laugh about.

Contrary to the popular fairy tale, being the turtle isn’t going to win the race called “Dominate the Market.” Now, don’t move so fast that your software is utter dribble, loaded with bugs and crashes all the time. That will kill your reputation faster than you can blink.

You still need to do the right things: doing the market research, getting the product right, getting the marketing right, developing your distribution and sales channels, great tech support.

Just do it all FAST! Define it fast, develop it fast, test it fast, and GET IT TO MARKET. You’re not going to “steal” market share if you move slowly.