Customers Over Competitors Recanted?

I wrote yesterday’s post late at night while tired. On re-reading it today, I realised that it seems arrogant and doesn’t say what I wanted to say. So here’s my second attempt to get my message across.

An anonymous poster asked a good question yesterday on the Poker Copilot discussion forum. To paraphrase,

“Why doesn’t Poker Copilot have feature X that some Windows products have?”

The reason is this: Poker Copilot is a one-person operation. I have a finite amount of time and need to prioritise. He specifically asked about more filters, which is something that’s been on my list of things to do for some time.

This got me thinking about the wider question of competitors in software development. I believe in general that a software development team should not obsess over their competitors. It’s natural to want to keep tabs on the competition, but one should not add features simply because the competitors have it. One should add features because customers want it. And because it helps customers achieve their goals.

My mantra could be: Don’t obsess over competitors. Obsess over customers.

I call it a mantra because I have to repeat it to myself over and over to follow it. It’s natural to obsess over competitors and I have to fight the temptation to do it. And I do sometimes (but seldomly) in my moments of weakness browse through the screenshots of Poker Tracker or Hold’em Manager.

It’s hard to determine if a particular feature your competitor has is one that adds value to customers. If I follow my competitors closely, I’ll become preoccupied with the wrong things. I’ll start obsessing over the features they have. I believe I should be obsessing over the features my customers ask for instead of the features my competitors have.

Some features competitors have are highly valuable. Some are not. It is hard for me to tell the difference.

I’m finding that people tell me what important features Poker Copilot is missing. I try to focus on the most highly requested ones. Sometimes I’ll suddenly get an avalanche of requests for a specific feature. I interpret that as a sign that a) a Windows poker analysis product has added that feature; and b) people like it. And therefore it becomes high priority.