by Asim Jalis
1. The value proposition guides the development of a product or a
software venture. For example, if I know why someone will buy a
product, what the product's killer value proposition is, then
that will guide me in deciding which features to put in and which
to not put in. It will give my program a unified interface.
Otherwise the program will be schizopherenic.
2. So the question becomes: Do you build the product first and
then hope to find a value proposition for it? Or do you find the
value proposition first and then build the product? Or do you
find the value proposition for things you already have and then
use the value proposition to guide further development?
3. I think it's a combination of all three.
4. You need to have something at the beginning. The reason is
that otherwise the customers don't know what you are offering.
The initial product is a communication device of what is
possible. I suppose it could be a simple demo. Also a product
establishes credibility. Otherwise the customer does not know if
you can really deliver.
5. But the product should not be sophisticated and perfect. It
should be embryonic, functional but embryonic.
6. Next take this product to customers, to different segments in
the market, and try to sell it. See if anyone buys. See why they
buy, or why they don't buy. Focus groups are pointless because
unless the people vote with their wallets you don't know if they
7. Once you discover the value proposition then you can evolve
the product to suit the market.
8. Based on all this here is a product idea: a developer
management framework, that generates reports on the code base.
How many classes, how many functions, how many lines of code, how
many files were updated today, how many unit tests pass, which
lines of code are never called, how many lines of code are
commented, and so on. The framework could scan the file system
and build reports. It could log these reports every day and build
charts over time. The unit testing framework could also generate
a log every time it is run and this could accumulate over time.
9. The idea: the logging unit testing framework. The framework is
free but the log parsers are not.
10. To know the value proposition you need the customer in mind.
You need to know who you are targeting, and you need to know what
your product is.
11. The basic duality in the market place: producers and
middlemen. The hybrid model in between: value added reseller.
This is a middleman but he/she also transmutes the underlying
product enough so that it loses most of its brand identity and
acquires the brand identity of the reseller.
12. In production you are focused on finding customers. In
middleman plays you are focused both on finding the best
suppliers and the best buyers. By "best" I mean people who will
create the biggest margins.