Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Focus on averarage consumer vs Focus on marginal consumer

I guess there are two philosophies in making software - focus on marginal consumer and focus on average consumer.

Most software is made with focus on marginal consumer. That means that feature set is constantly expanded with focus on marginal consumer - the largest group of consumers whose needs were not covered. So, with every version we get more and more features and eventually they become more and more useless for general user. It is not hard to think of companies that practiced this philosophy - Microsoft, Adobe, Autodesk - actually most of software leaders.

On the other hand, focus on the average consumer means that software focuses on one group and tries to satisfy its needs. Features are added just if they are really useful for that group. Otherwise, in new version you should expect that interaction with current features is improved, but again not by adding some subfeatures that are useful to some marginal group, but in the way that most of the users may benefit. I guess that best examples of this group are: Mozilla Corporation, Apple, Palm (though it failed to do anything of n0te in near time).

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