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Sunday, April 02, 2006

You Can't Please Everyone

I was consulting with a start up Internet venture, and there were complaints that both the Opera browser and Mac users were having some glitches.

As a very small outfit, they had to make some choices.

Their inclination was to make sure everyone could access the software before they proceeded.

I asked what would we do if we were contacted by a frustrated user. If that user was having problems with a commodore 64 hooked up to his television set, should they stop everything and re-write for him? (we did cure the opera faults - we put the Mac on the back burner)

My point was - let's get it running and see if people like it first. If we only reach 60% of our eventual audience to start we will soon discover if it is worth expanding our reach. We may also discover that we missed the market - and universal access was a moot point.

Another side to the same issue.

I read some blogger advice that suggested using the Arial font might cut out as much as 4% of the online population. The suggestion was to catch every potential reader you need to use the default font.

Lets focus on the 96% instead. The default font looks like every other site. If you keep readers around longer and happier due to a better experience with your content - it may be worth losing 4% of total readers.

I'm bald - and have been for quite some time - it's me. If only 10% of women prefer bald guys, and for 10% it doesn't matter - I've limited my choices. If however almost all bald guys buy rugs and get farm hair, true bald guys may only be 2% of the population. That's ten gals for each of us - my odds now look pretty good.

Even if I'm not pretty it's good looking odd.

This blog is not pretty, but if the content draws some readers - I can put some lipstick on the pig next year. Think of all the folks that invest time and money in super skins, and then stop blogging after a few months.

That's called putting the question on its head.

Back to your business.

In Internet parlance - a long tail of demand indicates that specialization in huge markets has great potential.

I saw a poster that sums up the you can't please everybody strategy rather nicely.

In the life span of every project - there comes a time to shoot the engineers - and continue with the project.



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