DevExpress Newsletter 5: Message from the CTO

01 July 2009

Here's the Message from the CTO from the fifth DevExpress Newsletter:

Being first or being best...

It's a problem to be sure. You're working on a software solution for some new problem space. You know your competitors are working on similar solutions. What do you do: produce the best solution you possibly can, or release something quickly, but not quite as high quality or not quite as full-featured, just to be first?

On the one hand, you're First. People will buy and then perhaps get "locked in" to your solution. You have the opportunity to do some of that dreaded marketing, but you also have the problem of persuading people that the problem space is worth solving.

On the other hand, you have the opportunity to see what the first guy is doing, and how it falls short. You can modify your development to target the shortcomings. Maybe it's performance, maybe it's ease-of-use, maybe it's data import/export, or reliability or stability. No matter what, you have the ability to be more measured in your release. It's not guaranteed that you'll be able to persuade customers to buy yours or switch, but you'll have a better chance should the problem space be worth solving.

Over the years DevExpress have been in the former camp and sometimes in the latter. With our WPF controls, we're firmly in the latter: we wanted to understand what people wanted (and whether the market was there) and we're almost ready to issue our first release. So expect better performance, improved ease-of-use, a more intuitive API, and all the other good things.

Next time, maybe we'll be first, and best...

It's the dichotomy we all face when writing software for sale. I'm reminded of it with the iPhone App Store, which is a place you can see this First vs. Best natural selection going on all the time. So long as the stuff you want to buy isn't "Duke Nukem Forever"...

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