Bespoke software development stay bespoke is all about a niche. The question is: has someone got there first?
You know that feeling when you’ve just chosen your new car (in blue), and suddenly it appears that loads of people are driving the same one? Or how you can be in a busy room where everyone around you is chatting, but above all the random babble you still manage to hear your own name. It is called the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon and it is merely our natural tendency to notice things that our sub-conscious has a more heightened awareness towards.
Another version of this idea is where records are broken, or achievements reached in quick succession. One of the most famous examples was when Roger Bannister ran the first-ever sub-four-minute-mile in 1954. There had been a group of top athletes trying desperately to grab the headlines for years and many oh-so-close attempts along the way. But after Sir Roger nailed his 3 minutes 59.4 seconds, the floodgates opened, and the others were matching or beating him in the months that followed.
Niche has a shelf-life
It is the same with innovation, especially in this high-tech age of software development and apps for everything. Someone will have an idea or spot a gap in the market and set the wheels of development in motion; and within days of release, it seems, someone else will have launched a similar product on the other side of the world. There certainly seems to be some undefinable symmetry to the way these things work.
Niche ideas, products and services are certainly a substantial sales opportunity for any business and can often be sold at a premium. But the more mainstream that niche becomes, the less value it has in the marketplace. Therefore, the way to maximise the niche-life of any product or piece of software is to start developing it as soon as possible.
Of course, good software can be practical and useful for many years (especially if it has been developed so that upgrades can be added), but its niche-life is undoubtedly limited.
The obvious is not always obvious
One of the legendary arts of the ninja was said to be his ability to hide in plain sight. While, in direct contrast to the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon mentioned earlier, this scenario is also far more commonplace than you’d think. How often have you misplaced the car keys that were in your hand not one-minute earlier? Or simply cannot think of the name of the person who you are speaking to and know really well? And did you ever see that YouTube clip where you were asked to count the number of passes the basketball team in white made?
When it comes to developing bespoke software ideas in this modern, fast-moving technology era, this is the single biggest lesson that we have observed. Just because an idea ‘seems like’ a no-brainer or an undeniable opportunity that someone else ‘must-have’ already thought of; it doesn’t mean it has already been done. People tend to sit on great ideas for far too long!
Software procrastination does two things. It reduces the niche-life of money-making opportunities. And it means that other people develop obvious ideas while the first person to think of it has moved onto something else that they probably won’t ever action either.