How Will People Discover Your Product?

How many times have you built something just thinking they will come….and then they didn’t? That’s the story of my life as a software developer. I love building software, but self-promotion? Shouldn’t the product sell itself?

The unfortunate reality is that it’s a noisy world. Even killer products like the iPhone and iPad needed that Steve Jobs promotion and sizzle to really fly off the shelves.

That’s why you need a platform to sell. That platform might be your blog or website. It might be your twitter or LinkedIn. But you need a place where you can talk about how great your product/service/business is and people will actually hear you.

So what does that platform look like and how do you build it? I’ve been spending time trying to evolve from heads down developer to business owner. Part of that has been developing my platform.

Here are the 5 best tips that I’ve found:

  1. Blogging: Having a regularly updated blog is a huge way to get your message out. The problem is that blogging often feels like shouting into an empty room. Is anybody listening? The good news is that google is always listening so even if your post is not discovered immediately, it likely got indexed and may be found in the future. Analytics also help. If you see real people visiting your blog and the numbers going up then it feels like you are really moving the needle.
  2. Social Media: There is more than double rainbows on social media! I’ve come to learn that social media is what you make of it. If you follow people posting cat pictures all day then that’s what will color your view of social media. But if you follow the leaders in your industry then you can begin to connect with them and distribute your message.
  3. Join the Conversation: As the person building the product, it’s so easy to go heads down and say I’m going to focus on the product to the exclusion of all else. The problem is once that product is built, how do you know there will be anyone there to buy it? That’s why it’s important to join the conversations in your target industry. You’ll have a much better idea of what to actually build.
  4. Meetups: Believe it or not, meeting people in real life can be even better than meeting them virtually. Back in my day, in-person meetups were the norm, but nowadays much of business and conversation takes place online. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but one way to take it to the next level is to meet in person or even share a meal. People are much more likely to listen to what you have to say in person.
  5. Conventions: Conventions take meetups to the next level. Now you have people that are traveling at great expense to discuss a certain topic. The benefit is that you know the people at a convention will be serious about what is being discussed. They (or their business) paid a pretty penny to get them there. And one of the main reasons to attend a convention is not for the actually speakers, but for the people you meet. There is a high chance that they will be passionate about the topic and looking to meet others who share the same opinion or have a product related to it.

I’m definitely still figuring this out and there are pieces that are new and uncomfortable, but it’s a hugely important piece of the business equation. If you don’t get your message out then who will?

Next week I’ll be digging into the specific tools that you can use to publish your message. Stay tuned or subscribe to make sure you don’t miss it!

Question: As a developer or business owner have you struggled with getting your message out?

Stop Caring and Start Writing

Insightful video by Jonathon Mann (Mr Song a Day) about silencing the inner critic:

It’s all about detaching yourself from the creative process so that you don’t clam up and worry about making something “good”. It’s more important to make something, period, than it is to make something good.

Especially for those of us that are perfectionists, silencing the inner critic is sometimes the hardest part. There’s this feeling of I don’t want to write or create unless it’s going to be absolutely the best creation ever. So what ends up happening is nothing.

I’m going to try and start taking his advice. Here’s to more creating and less caring!

How to be creative

I love Scott Berkun and he hits it out of the park with this post on how to be creative:

The biggest difference between you and Picasso, or Einstein, or whoever your heroes are is that they out work you. They spend more time in front of a canvas, or guitar, or computer, working away at applying their minds and souls to specific things.

Creativity is not about flashes of lightning. It’s about grinding it out.

He is a great example of a guy grinding it out. He was a key player in developing Internet Explorer for Microsoft and decided to give up the stable career of writing software to focus full time on speaking and writing.

That takes balls.

Imaginary Sea

I’m reviving my writing and artistic career starting with this poem and illustration. Sometimes my mind wanders when I’m sitting in the backyard…