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If you build it, they won't come  

Tom Buck:

If you build an application first, chances are you’ll get pretty disappointed when the initial burst of announcement traffic dies down… and you’re left with close to zero sales. Sure, there are success stories out there, where an app brought in megabucks from it’s very first mention, but – and I’m Sorry to say it – unless your lottery numbers come up on a regular basis, this is not going to happen to you.

Indeed. It's a paradox and a fallacy: the inexperienced salesperson thinks it is much harder to sell something that doesn't exist, than something that does. Surely, if it exists, people are more likely to buy it, right?

Actually, selling something that exists only in your mind is far easier, because once you've sold something, so long as it's realistic and achievable, you can very likely create the thing that you sold.

On the other hand, when something exists already, it needs to match your customer's specific requirements in order to appeal to them. This is certainly possible - and all successful products do it - but it mostly arises when the work of building the product was preceded by an effort to discover the market.

And the best way to do that is to try and sell the product before you build it.

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