The 50/50 Rule

I am pretty obsessed with the truth that if you’re not spending half of your time building traction (i.e. marketing) then you have no right to expect a decent amount of sales when you scale your indie app (or startup, or even large-scale business).

What is obvious, though, to the more established and larger companies is the fact that marketing is a fundamental and uncompromisable part of running a business.

At the indie and small project level though it’s hard to wrap your arms around. It’s also hard to find the time to do both really well. This is compounded even more when you’re a software developer and engineer who’d rather just build stuff and hopefully let the product “speak for itself”.

The problem is that doesn’t happen nearly as often as we’d like to believe. In fact, it’s only in the rare fringe cases that apps can just “blow up” without much marketing and traction development.

I learned this viscerally and personally with my other small indie app, Desk, where I built up the community in real-time as I was building the app. Was it easy? No. But was it worth it? Abso-freakin’-lutely.

I’m doing the same thing here with Teeny – blogging the journey every single day as I can and sharing my thoughts, experiences, goals, and objectives publicly.

Do we have many followers? Nope. Do we have many subscribers? Nope. Is the launch going to be significantly smaller than Desk App’s launch? Yes, most certainly. But will it be better than if I had opted to just ignore this important part of the equation? Nope.

Consequently, I’ve dedicated myself to working the 50/50 rule: Half of my time engineering, half of my time marketing, traction-building, community-building and the like.

Is it technically divided perfectly into 50% engineering/product and 50% traction? No, of course not, but it’s doing just fine. The exact time isn’t actually the point.

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