Daily Archives: December 11, 2019

Dear Vendor: Your Code is Ugly …

You heard me! Your code is ugly! Butt Ugly! And if it’s not, then your UI is ugly. And if it’s not, then your functionality is ugly. But trust me. Something is ugly … and uglier than that horrendously ugly sweater you are wearing with pride this holiday season.

So just accept it — and stop complaining every time a new analyst report comes out that doesn’t put you on top. Because, first of all, only one vendor can be on top … and that’s not going to be you. (And if it is you, it’s not going to be for long.) Regardless if it’s a pure quadrant, blended quadrant, wave or some other report, the rating system used is only going to put one vendor on top — which is the vendor with the most mature, complete, and fleshed-out platform against that rating system. Unless you picked that exact path, how could it be you? And if it is you, and you’re far ahead, it’s probably going to look like the rating system was specially designed to put you on top. (We all know the story of the One Million Dollar PO — you don’t want someone thinking that you paid for your rating, do you?)

The goal is to be in the top quadrant, wave, or other leader area, not to win!

So stop complaining every time you don’t come out on top and start learning instead. (Do you seriously think complaints are going to get you anywhere?) If the rating, or at least a considerable portion of it, is objective, then, for every factor your solution is scored on, there’s a specific criteria you can access and evaluate. Generally speaking, if the analyst firm is at least worth its weight in salt, there’s a good reason for that criteria. If you don’t meet it, why?

  • is it because you just haven’t had time to implement the functionality yet?
  • is it because you feel the functionality is too simple or advanced for the market?
  • is it because it’s an area that you don’t define as core to your solution offering?
  • is it because you don’t think it’s relevant to your customers?
  • etc.

You should have a good reason, and you should re-evaluate that reason if the analyst firm considers a specific piece of functionality to be moderately to highly relevant, because:

  • the analyst firm has a reason for including it
  • the analyst firm talks to considerably more vendor companies, that collectively have considerably more customers than you
  • the analyst firm talks to customers YOU DO NOT HAVE
  • the analyst firm has a more comprehensive read on the direction of the market

Now, you can’t win them all, can’t serve them all, and can’t do everything (and definitely can’t be best at everything), so you may want to make some conscientious decisions not to go down some paths and instead go down paths where you can win and serve the majority of the market niche, and that’s okay. But if you make enough of those decisions, you need to understand that the more you have to make, the more niche the map has to be for you to win. And that’s not a very big market.

Winning is not winning the map. Winning is surviving long enough to win the market. That means being ahead enough to win more deals than average, but not being so niche you start winning less or shrinking the market available to you.