Bits before the Buzz

November 8th, 2005 by jeremychone

Bits before the BuzzOne of the most hazardous behaviors in software development is the tendency to deliver the Buzz before the Bits. The software and technology industry probably lends itself pretty well to this practice given its fast-paced and quick return on investment. However, while this custom occasionally may have some positive side effects, the costs usually exceed the benefits.

"Too early Buzz" could:

  • Disappoint early adapters: Having some Buzz before the Bits raises user expectations unpredictably, and therefore significantly increases the potential for disappointment. Disappointing early-adapters could be very harmful and costly, since they are the foundation of future growth.
  • Distract execution: Trying to evangelize to a broad audience a product that has not been validated by end-users might be very disorienting for the product team. After a while, the team might be too off base to be able to get back on the user’s need. Eventually, time, money and interest will run out … and a potential great idea might be lost for a while.
  • Weaken competitive position: Coming out too early and too loud gives a potentially vantage point to competitors.

Adding to the intertwined relationship between idea, buzz and execution, it is important to note that the better the idea, the easier the Buzz, and the harder the execution.

This does not mean that Buzz is bad. Obviously, the right amount of Buzz at the right time is critical. The technology industry is full of successful companies and organizations that have been very diligent and effective in managing this balance, resulting in their success. Unfortunately and probably naturally, there are also plenty of great projects that started with a relatively "high Buzz" but never saw the light of the day.

So, in short….. Bits should be before the Buzz … then the real question becomes when to start Buzzing?

One Response to “Bits before the Buzz”

  1. jean sini on activeweave Says:

    let’s get 2006 started

    [...] we