There are only two (profitable) markets. The cheapest available and the best available. Play the middle ground and you play to lose. Seth hits the mark again. Imagine how much it would have been to hire this guy before blogs? Now you can get his head for free.
OK, I know this is not exactly rocket science. High volume versus high margin. Clean and simple. Lots of people have written about it. But it's nice to get a reminder. It gives you motivation and inspiration.
When I started Ricebridge I had this in mind, if not in words. Give something a name and you give it power. Give an idea a name and you manifest it. “Be the best available”. What a brilliant way to give yourself focus.
In my own market (software components) I have really tried to live this idea. Yes, there are loads of Open Source alternatives. That's the high–volume competition. And I go for the high–end business. When you really need to get the best there is, I'm there. People need this option.
Of course, it's a lot more work to build full-service components. All that other stuff outside the code. All the additional support that comes with the product. That's really where my market is, not the code itself. I've been thinking about this truth for quite a while now. Fully embracing it means providing high-level support for my components, as standard.
Pretty soon I'm going to announce an entirely new licensing model. Prices will change, but what you get will be far more than just a piece of code. Instead of providing support as separate (expensive) products, I'm going to make support a part of the core offering. When you buy a Ricebridge component, you will get high-level support as standard. Your questions will be answered directly and quickly. No more searching through documentation or FAQs. What you buy is another team member who just happens to be a complete specialist in one part of your project.
I really think that the lack of support is what puts people off buying software components. Commercial components are usually so badly supported that people are driven to Open Source. We've all had our nightmares. At least Open Source has some sort of support structure. It may be random, but at least you have some hope. If you look at the component vendors that are well-respected, you find that they are the exception that proves the rule. Everybody raves about them.
The thing is, supported components are what is needed, not software components. There is no such thing as plug–and–play when it comes to building software. You always need a helping hand.
It's time to start playing to my strengths.