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Why don’t people like my ideas?!

June 9, 2009

frustration1 Have you found yourself asking that question?  I’m sure many developers have, although this topic applies universally to anybody in any profession (or personal life for that matter).

So lets take a closer look at the problem.  I’ll assume you’re a smart girl or guy, people generally respect your opinions and level of knowledge, and you’ve got a history book full of good ideas you’ve had in the past.  You have a detailed explanation of your idea, with a detailed list of the benefits you identified that your idea will provide, or a detailed list of the problems it will solve etc.  Maybe you have pretty charts and graphs that you think illuminate important points you thought of.  Despite all of this, NOBODY WILL BUY YOUR IDEA.

This is pretty frustrating to say the least, and I think that a lot of people end up feeling defeated and give up.  Eventually they stop trying to sell their ideas and just concede to following those people who seemingly can sell ANY idea they want to ANYBODY. 

There’s a very subtle although major difference that can help you become one of those people who can sell your ideas to anybody.  Here’s an example of the difference.  Lets pretend you’ve come up with an idea for a rain water collection/purification system that you think is excellent.  You’re trying to sell the idea to a venture capital company in North America.  You walk in, proud as can be of your great new idea, and you give them a long talk about how your new idea is going to save so much money and provide so much good drinking water.  Then one of the people you’re pitching the idea to says “but water is cheap, why would i want to buy this?”….. and all you can come up with is “but it’s a great idea and i know it will work!”.

Sound familiar at all?  It should, i’ve seen it happen numerous times (not with water systems obviously).  So ask yourself, what did they forget to do?  They did what most people do wrong, they failed to look at things from the OTHER PERSONS PERSPECTIVE.  What is a venture capital firm looking for, making money of course!  So it doesn’t really matter what your idea will do or how it works, they want to know how it’s going to make them money, so that better be the question you are ready to answer when you talk to them.  Tell them about how it will collect enough rain water during a single rain in a desert climate to provide drinking water for X people for X amount of time, and that it only costs Y amount to set up and will last for Z years etc etc.  You need to ask yourself “how will this idea provide value to the person you are selling it to?”.

So lets quickly focus in on software development.  Developers often have great ideas, and they often get frustrated when they feel push back from the business side of the company on those ideas.  Often times this is simply because they are not being effective salesmen.  They expect the business team to understand the benefits of their idea from a developers perspective and to buy it, however business people are not developers and do not have a developers perspective.  You must be mindful of who you are selling your ideas to, figure out what their perspective on the idea will be, and adjust your sales pitch to cater to that perspective.  If you do this, you’ll save yourself a lot of frustration and sell a lot more ideas, but don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself!

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From → Development, Point2

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