Joel on Competitors

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July 21, 2012 by huionn

I read a chapter about Joel’s Fog Creek in Founder at Work. I found that these paragraphs alone already worth the money I paid for the book (Well, I bought the ebook with USD6.49 during promotion).

… I remember thinking that, no matter what we knew that the competitors were doing, the information was completely useless to us. It never really changed what we were doing. If it’s like, “The competitors are going to do feature x,” well, if that’s such a good feature to do, why aren’t we hearing about it from our customers?

In other words, why listen to our customers indirectly through what our competitors do when we can just talk to our customers? So my mantra has
always been, “Listen to your customers, not your competitors.”

I do want to talk to people who evaluated our software and then decided to go with a different product instead. I want to know why they did. “Well, one of your competitors has a wiki built in.” OK, maybe we’ll have some kind of wiki integration. But, again, that’s something I would hear from our customers and not from paying any attention to what our competitors are doing.

This vividly describes the methodology of Customer Development.

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