Monday, July 26, 2004

Determining the Audience

by Asim Jalis

Here are some thoughts on the dilemma about whether to focus the blog or not. I think I should focus it. The reason I fear focusing is because I worry that I will focus on the wrong thing, on the thing that no one is interested in. But nevertheless I think it will be useful to focus. Because only by focusing on the wrong thing can I figure out what the right thing is. This principle needs a name. I also noticed this in my fund-raising. To make a proposal one must fix things. If I approach a potential client and tell them I will do anything for them, they don't know what to ask. I have essentially delegated my work to them. It's my job to define some broad parameters within which they can choose. If a business offers to do whatever you want it to do then it is like it does nothing. I want to hire a business that defines itself in some way, that pins itself down, that stakes a claim. Suppose someone wants a job and they tell you they can do anything. While this might even be true, this person will not be as attractive as a candidate who pins down what kind of a job he is looking for. This is sometimes a problem on XP teams. The XP customer is not just a person who uses the software. It's the person who defines the product. It's a much harder job than it looks at the beginning. Someone has to narrow the search space of possibilities. For any proposal to be taken seriously it must offer a narrow well-defined range of services that are coherent together.