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.


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