Thursday, June 29, 2006

Growing in vs. growing out

When your customers outgrow your product, what do you do?

"Now that Basecamp is 2.5 years old, we’ve been getting some heat from a few folks who’ve been with us since the beginning. They are saying they are starting to grow out of the app. Their businesses are becoming more complex and their requirements are changing. They want us to change Basecamp to mirror their new-found complexity and requirements.

We’re saying no. And here’s why: We’d rather our customers grow out of our products eventually than never be able to grow into them in the first place.

The problem with following the complexity curve of your customer’s own businesses and requirements is that eventually your product becomes so complex that the barrier to entry is too high for new customers. And then eventually you die with your current customers. You may keep your current customers in the short term, but if no one new can fit through the door then eventually you’re in trouble.

It’s ok for software to be “temporary.” Everything else is temporary, why not software? You probably don’t use the same computer you did 5 years ago. You probably don’t live in the same apartment or have the same car either. And you may be in a different relationship too. Why are software companies afraid if people grow out of things after awhile?"   continued ...   (Via 37Signals)

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