This question has been my daily reality for 15+ years, so I want to talk about it. Frequently, this is how people communicate with technologist. They’ll ask, “How difficult is it to code..?”
When I was a fledgling programmer, I would answer “super easy, it’s just code”. Why? I wanted to make money and build radical technology. Then I learned about the byproduct of building too much — the dreaded “creep”. And creep makes product unusable and unsellable.
There’s a reason why there are so many apps in the App Store. People mentally associate apps for a specific use. Go beyond that primary use and two things happen, and both hurt you.
#1 – Your app becomes too complicated to explain. People share, people talk about what they do, and talking about a new app is no exception. The easier it is for them to relay your message the more viral your product will be.
Look at the human attention span and the forgetting curve. Better yet, look at how politicians speak — at a third grade reading level — and it isn’t because Americans are stupid. It’s because Simple Spreads. It’s why company tag lines are short and sweet. Ambiguity frees us to apply and own meaning.
#2 – The more complicated the app, the harder it is to sell. A knife is simple. I use it to cut. The decision is clear. If I want to cut something, I need a knife. Learning to design my technology this way has proven to be crucial.
Once I developed an entire creep filled real estate platform that could do A-Z and needed a 3 week training program. An expensive lesson to say the least.
One neat trick I learned was to develop the sales page for the product first. It focuses me on the customer and delivering features they would be interested in. Solve too many problems and well… that hammer radio flashlight combo didn’t sell too well, did it?
How I respond now
Today when I’m asked how hard it will be, I still respond optimistically. Then I go do the research and figure it out. I think about the time and resources I’ll need. Most importantly, I determine if what i’m being asked to do will add value to the customer. If it doesn’t fit – Don’t Built It. A shiny new idea with a hollow core devours budget, kills business, and leaves you holding the bag. There’s always plenty to do to move the product forward in a meaningful way.
What should you do?
When faced with time or difficulty estimations it might not be clear exactly what to do and this can be tricky. The people at the top in life are always working, growing and improving with the help of others. It’s how you got to where you are, and it’s how you will get up through the next stage on your journey.
I have experience that you can leverage. If you don’t use me, use someone else. The point is for you to get what is on your mind resolved immediately, don’t wait. Set an appointment with me and tell me about your situation so I can help. Click this link to reach out. Something else on your mind? Whatever you need, I’m here. Life is meant to be done together, just reach out.