O segredo da industria do software

O VendedorIt's an exciting time to be in the software industry. With the dot com boom and bust, and now “web 2.0” and social networking in the mainstream, we're still in our infancy but growing up.

On a grade level, I'd say we're probably around the 9th grade. We're still uncomfortable in our skin, we get excited by the the software that looks a little ‘overdeveloped', and we're just starting to build friendships that will hopefully last a lifetime.

Consumers are finally getting serious with our software. Product managers are finally getting some good taste – complimenting a great product with good design that's sales and marketing worthy.

That said, the fallacy of the software purchase still exists. When you buy a new car, you generally know that it's going to be comfortable, ride well, how it corners and how it accelerates just from the test drive. If you read about it in an auto magazine by a great journalist, you get a real feeling about how the car is going to feel before you ever get in it.

Software has test drives and reviews as well, but they never live up to our expectations, do they? Part of the problem is that, while cars go forward, backward and have doors and wheels, software doesn't follow the same rules… and nor do any two people use it alike. It isn't until we're mired in our day to day work that we figure out what's ‘missing' with the application. It's missed when it was designed. It's missed when it was developed. And worst, it's always missed in the sale.

This is because you and I don't buy software for how we're going to use it. Often times, we don't actually buy it at all – someone buys it for us. The software we use is often mandated due to a corporate relationship, discount, or the manner in which it interacts with our other systems. It amazes me how many times that companies have a robust purchasing process, certification requirements, service level agreements, security compliance, operating system compatibility… but no one actually usa a aplicación ata moito despois da compra e implementación.

It's, perhaps, one of the reasons why pirating software is so rampant. I don't want to even count how many thousands of dollars of software I've purchased that I used and gave up on, and never used again.

A visión da compañía de software

The view from the software company is quite different altogether! Though our applications usually fix a primary problem and that's why people pay for it… there are so many tertiary issues out there that we have to take into consideration when developing it.

  • Como queda? - ao contrario da crenza popular, software is a beauty contest. I can point to dozens of applications that should ‘own' the market but don't even make the cut because they lack the aesthetics that grab the headlines.
  • Como se vende? - ás veces as funcións son comercializables, pero non son tan útiles. Na industria do correo electrónico houbo un gran impulso durante un tempo RSS. Everyone was asking for it but only a couple Email Service Providers had it. The funny thing is, a year later, and it's still not adopted in the mainstream by email marketers. It's one of those features that are marketable, but not really useful (yet).
  • Que seguridade ten? – this is one of those ‘small' items that are overlooked but can always sink a deal. As software providers, we should always strive for security and have it backed up through independent audits. Not doing so is irresponsible.
  • Que tan estable é? – surprisingly, stability is not something that's purchased – but it will make your life miserable if it's an issue. Stability is key to an application's reputation and profitability. The last thing you want to do is hire people to overcome stability issues. Stability is also a key strategy that should be at the foundation of every application. If you don't have a stable foundation, you're building a home that will one day crumble and fall.
  • Que problema soluciona? - É por iso que precisa o software e se axudará ou non á súa empresa. Comprender o problema e desenvolver a solución é por iso que imos traballar todos os días.

The secret of the software industry is that we DO NOT sell, buy, build, market and use software well. We have a long way to go before we graduate someday and do it all consistently. To last in this industry, companies often have to develop features and security to sell, but sacrifice usability and stability. It's a dangerous game. I look forward to the next decade and hope that we've matured enough to gain the right balance.

3 Comentarios

  1. 1

    Unha das preguntas máis difíciles que teño que responder é: "Se o chamas enxeñaría de software, por que non podes ter resultados deterministas para os teus proxectos?"

    A miña resposta é semellante á que falas aquí. Esta é unha nova industria. Tardamos miles de anos en volver a onde chegaran os romanos coa enxeñaría. Un dos meus momentos favoritos en Italia foi visitar o Panteón de Roma e ver o burato onde supostamente Brunelleschi cortaba un burato para descubrir como os romanos montaban unha cúpula tan grande (xa que intentaba descubrir como rematar o Duomo en Florencia ).

    Somos unha disciplina nova e levaremos tempo antes de que poidamos producir software de calidade dun xeito consistente. É por iso que os desenvolvedores aínda son considerados como tipos de magos. Necesitamos controlar todo o que podemos (característica fluída, permitindo aos comerciantes dirixir arquitectura de software, mala xestión), pero non podemos sacudir o feito de que algúns programas o teñan e outros non. Ata entón, é hora da febre do ouro.

  2. 2

    O concepto sobredesenvolvido é tan certo na web 2.0 Parece que se crean moitas empresas arredor dun produto que non pensas que poderían manter unha empresa enteira ... entón adquírese (o que é estupendo para a empresa) ou desaparece despois da mínima adopción.

  3. 3

    Estou totalmente de acordo coa idea de que a industria do software non se desenvolveu completamente ao nivel que necesita para poder controlar a distribución do software ao consumidor. Quero dicir que é totalmente correcto cando dis que o software se usa de xeito diferente con cada consumidor e, polo tanto, non sempre satisfai a todos. A idea do software piratado xorde debido a esta insatisfacción do consumidor porque tes razón pagas tanto diñeiro por un software e úsalo e logo renuncias a el e non o volves usar nunca e supoño que esta idea non cadra cando falas de gastar cartos en algo que non será a longo prazo. Entón, ao final, a idea é certa ata que poidamos ser coherentes na compra, construción, comercialización e uso de software, non podemos evitar que aparezan estas ideas equivocadas.

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