There are 2 key provisions that your products MUST have, and I’d like to share a story with you – it’ll help you NOT to make the same mistake:)
It’s about the product called “Working Mathematically 3D in Space” by the Australian Curriculum Corporation.
Working in 3D is not the easiest thing for the students to do. My company got the contract and I personally programmed the entire main module a while back, which allowed students to visually create 3D objects, to be used in various tasks – for example, to rotate them, shift them and move them is so that the structure could fit through the space in the wall.
Based on its success, the Curriculum Corporation poured $500,000 into its further development. The educational consultants were hired, and the project kept growing and growing.
When it hit the market 6 months later, it was the total flop. Abject failure. So much so that the government-owned ‘Satchel Software’ disbanded, with people losing their jobs.
Why did the great piece of software, initially received so well, sank into a black hole?
…time to address the 2 key provisions that your products MUST have. Here they are:
- You must reduce the risk of time to a bare minimum
- You must reduce the monetary risk to a bare minimum
The software was initially so successful because it was beautiful, easy to use, had clear benefits, and students and teachers loved it.
When the project grew tenfold, it became LESS useful. Adding the ledgers, journal, tracking of a zillion things, and multitudes of new complex and time-consuming features, sank the project.
You see, teachers do not want to spend 2 weeks learning how to operate the software.
Neither do they want the extra obligation of having to fill a bunch of forms.
What they LOVE is to be able to conduct a number of lessons with almost no preparation, and easily convey valuable new skills to their students. Make THAT possible, and you have a terrific product!
The second problem was a HUGE increase in the price of the software. Another big risk. Enough to sink the Titanic.
The following applies ALL products, especially plugins, applications, video courses and other digital products. To avoid falling into the same trap, here’s what I suggest you do:
- Make people’s lives SIMPLER, not more complicated.
- If you’re producing software, put LOTS of functionality under the hood, and REDUCE the number decisions that users need to make.
- REDUCE the number of configuration options. If you have to have them, provide the pre-configured sets that people can choose them with one click.
- Do not pack loads of features into your software to solve a myriad of problems. Provide LESS features that solve a small number of problems perfectly, and appeal to the well-defined niche, not to everyone.
- For the foundations that people can build on, reduce the risk of time to a bare minimum. Make it easy for people to have results almost immediately and with next-to-no training.
…and, always, always, ALWAYS reduce the monetary risks of getting your products to a bare minimum.
Mind you, this does NOT mean make your products cheap. Not at all…
…but that’s the topic for the next time 🙂 …and I promise you won’t have to wait long.