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Stop Focusing on What You Don't Have (timcheadle.com)
53 points by fourspace on Aug 6, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 13 comments



Like a lot of good advice, this is easy to say but sometimes difficult to implement. But it's good to be reminded of this. When you say "If I only had X, I could do Y" what you are really telling yourself is that now, you can't do Y. So you don't do it. Excuses are easy to come up but hard to get out of.

As a shameless self-plug, I've put together a course that helps developers reduce the tendency to think that the grass is always greener. If you're interested, see my profile for the link.


While I agree with his premise, he doesn’t give a lot of useful advice on how to implement his suggestion. In the case of the menswear website, how does calling people and using a spreadsheet help? People on the phone can’t see the clothes. Also, who are you calling in that example?

In the case of the project management idea - again, who do you call to get a job implementing your idea?

The code idea is probably a reasonable one for some people, though coding is often much harder than it looks.

Finally he says, "The problem is not what you’re missing; it’s that you are not leveraging what you have,” but he gives no advice on how to do that practically. It’s good advice, just not useful without more information.


My goal wasn't to give specific advice to people in certain situations. My examples are hypothetical; maybe I didn't make that clear.

Instead, the point of the article was to motivate you to go actually make sales, create value, and build relationships. None of these things require a developer. Do I know who you should specifically call to test the market in a given context? No; that's your problem to figure out. The point is that you CAN figure it out.


I was thinking the same. Calling to sell suits might not be the best route, but setting up an etsy or something would be a pretty tech-free way to go about testing the market. Plus it would make you learn how to talk to people that could send you traffic.


It's very easy to fall into this mental trap. Developers are creative people by definition; we of all people have no excuse to pass the blame for our lack of success to another. It's a way of avoiding responsibility and completely counterproductive to success. Great post.


The sad reality is, even after reading this article most folks will resolve to once again, blaming others for the things they don't have. It's not that most people don't know they should work harder to strive for their own, but rather it's a lot easier to blame someone else, and humans are naturally lazy. Most people know, but don't act, imho.


He never addressed what you do when you need massive marketing and don't have the funds.


When is that a thing? I can imagine that those scenarios exist, for example you make a product that isn't nearly as good as a product that every savvy user already knows about (1and1mywebsite for example), but what is a common example?


This is very routine when you make games for mobile.

Every successful game company for mobile had lots of investment in marketing.

This also applies for non-mobile too actually, Activision for example famously spends more money in marketing than development, Modern Warfare 2 for example had a marketing budget of 250 million.

Because of awful mobile "discoverability" you need marketing, there is no other way, you just need it, people WON'T EVER find you unless they see a ad, someone refers the thing to them, or they see front page in the store (and when this happen, you already is doing well...)

EDIT about viral: My company in particular makes games for children, we cannot rely on anything that looks remotely anti-ethical... All our competitors (both with success and failures) rely mostly on marketing while they don't have a brand.

about Marketing expenses: The need for money, is mostly to test what works, and what does not, with some things is easy and every small company (including us) already do, that is test campaigns in AdMob, AppBrain and so on, the problem is the next "tier" is with companies that charge 20K USD upfront for their basic services... We all know that you need to hire them, but for obvious reasons everyone is secretive about WHO you hire, ensuring a sort of barrier of entry, where newcomers must waste money around until they find the company that really deliver.

And finally, organic growth and small marketing works, and the amount of users do climb, the problem it is not fast enough to cover fixed costs for a LOOOONG time, way longer than the runway.


Tim is, in this blog, forcing you to REALLY define need, and I think "tons of marketing dollars for initial launch" is not a need, ever. What you need is to prove that, when they find the game, they'll download and pay for it. Invest $100 in marketing, and see what your ROI is. If it's high enough, somebody with half a brain would put up the money to amp up the spend.

I do not agree that these "need" massive marketing, but it does depend on the scale. The only game I worked with delivering has over 20,000 downloads and absolutely no marketing, because there are a ton of blogs that write about iPhone games. It's not a very good game, and it has absolutely 0 viral mechanics, or else I'd posit we'd have more.

We were lucky, to be fair, but I disagree that a "startup" that is making a game "needs" massive marketing dollars. It seems like you "need" viral mechanics, press, devoted fans, or an incremental ad spending campaign where you constantly re-invest the money you have.


Create an idea that spreads. Much better to build the marketing into the product than saving marketing as an afterthought.


I've got no business preaching, but my synthesis of HN's general opinion on the matter, phrased as a pithy remark, goes as follows:

If you don't have the funds, you don't need massive marketing.


He doesn't need to - it's pretty obvious. Go find a different idea.




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