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A Module for Success

Wed Jan 17, 2001 - 11:16 PM EST - By James Hromadka

Release dates & working with others

Pad your release dates. Users are a finicky bunch and will complain loudly and often if you continuously delay your products. My readers will hate me for suggesting this, but when announcing a product's release, add a few months if it won't be released for a while. Using quarters instead of exact months is also a good tactic. Then when you get closer to your release date, give another update. If you say you are releasing it during a particular month, don't wait until the last day of the month to post an update on your website. Your potential customers want updated information. If (and when) a delay is needed, say why. Let people know what is finished.

Work with other manufacturers. External memory modules are becoming the rage, with Compact Flash, MMC, SmartMedia, etc. getting cheaper and more easily accessible to consumers. What happens when you take an MMC with data for one module and put it in another? We don't know yet. What should happen is that the data should coexist peacefully. Companies should work together for compatibility among these cards, and could even potentially use the same conduit for data transfer. Another benefit of working with others is that more people hear about your products. Consumers benefit, you benefit -- everyone wins!

Work with VisorCentral. Several companies have asked readers in our Discussion Forum about things they would like to see in their products. Feel free to ask questions, but be upfront and let them know who you are and what company you represent. One company worked with VisorCentral to have a special beta testers forum. Things like this bring all sorts of good will towards your company and send a message that you are interested in your customer's opinions.

If you can, get VisorCentral a pre-production model to write about so you can get your product some press. VisorCentral had an article on my beta impressions of the Stowaway keyboard and have beta tested for several products. When people see that a product is almost done, they anticipate it more and can handle a delay much better.


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