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6 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Launching a New Software Program

6 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Launching a New Software Program

In the business arena, software remains one of the fastest growing categories of startups today — and for good reason! The scalability of software, and it’s unique ability to serve one or one million users, makes it the ideal weapon of choice for entrepreneurs looking to make a big impact.

Ethan Drower, In her 10+ years as a software developer and as co-founder and Operating Partner of CiteMed, has built her own software, hired teams, and worked for teams hell-bent on creating “the next big thing”. From apps, to Software as a Service, she has hit major pitfalls, completely failed, and even found her way into some successful companies.

She has shared some of the mistakes young lads that are about to come into the software industry make. Are you thinking of bringing your own software platform to market and want some helpful advice? If so, here is a highlight reel of the top mistakes that plague most young and ambitious software entrepreneurs. she personally made many of these mistakes and can attest to their severity.

If you are thinking about building something, struggling to find the best product market fit, or are fighting it out in the marketplace already, it’s imperative to avoid these key mistakes.

Not Choosing Your Market Wisely

Most software startups are doomed from the start, simply because their founders have chosen a bad market. Bad markets can be too competitive, or too empty (no real paying users). So when you are picking a market to enter with your software idea, make sure of two things: first, that your product can compete (don’t try and build a competitor to Facebook), and second, make sure that there will be paying customers or advertisers to pitch what you end up building to.

Not Building a REAL Minimum Viable Product

It’s all too tempting to set out with a features/functionality list that rivals the top competitors in your space. However, you are wasting your time and resources if you are waiting to build the perfect product before launching.

It’s (now) common Silicon Valley wisdom to launch a version of your software that you are a little embarrassed by. This is sage advice and should be heeded. The reality is, until you get feedback from real users and customers, you won’t be able to know exactly what to build. So take a guess of what that may be, build the fastest/quickest/dirtiest version of that guess, and then go out there and try and get people to use it.

Not Knowing Who Your Target User Is

While you may not know exactly what to build, you should have a very strong notion of who you are building it for. To do this, construct a detailed “avatar” of your ideal user.  Who are they? Where do they work? What do they do for fun? Why would they need your software? The more you understand your target user (and their problems), the better your software product will turn out. You can add functionalities and more that they would really find valuable.

Underestimating Your Budget

If you are in the more traditional “startup” and venture capital world, this translates into one thing: raise enough money. If you are a bootstrapper and self financed, this is even more critical to building your product. In my experience, I have found that software tends to take twice the time and (at least) twice the budget of whatever a professional or development team quotes you. As much as I hate to admit it, this is just the way it always seems to work out.

So when you set out to hire developers and build a team, be sure that you have enough capital to actually get a product out into the marketplace. If not, you will end up with a half-finished project, and shattered nerves.

Cheaping Out on Developers

When you do manage to find the budget, be sure that you aren’t just attracted to the cheapest bids from offshore development companies. Yes, while an $8/hour developer may seem attractive on paper, I assure you that they will end up costing you more in lost time, poor craftsmanship, and headaches down the line.

Pick good developers, and if you don’t know the difference, hire someone to pick them for you (let me tell you, a good Chief Technology Officer (CTO) co-founder is worth their weight in gold).

Not Having a Techie In Your Corner

While a CTO is not essential, working with one does eliminate the vast majority of problems that non-technical founders ultimately face in the building and launching of software products. They also significantly reduce your initial costs if they can write a large portion of the code themselves. If you can’t find a suitable co-founder that’s a programmer, simply having a friend or trusted advisor in your network to vet ideas and hire developers is well worth the effort to secure.

Waiting to Launch

Waiting until things are “perfect” is one of the biggest mistakes I have made in my software career. The truth is, your software will never be perfect. And by waiting, you are losing out on the most precious asset of all startups: real user feedback.

To combat this, instead of waiting to launch, launch immediately but with a very fast system in place to hear about and fix bugs. For example, you can set up an email address that all of your users can be instructed to send problems to, a phone number directly to you, or a live chat box.  The important thing is that users have an easy way to complain to you.

The second part of this is a way to quickly fix things. This is more of a challenge for your development team, but be sure that your developers have the capacity to fix things and get it to your customers immediately without a complex process of updating your software.

To Wrap It All Up

Congratulations on starting the journey of bringing new software to market! Make sure to avoid some of the most common mistakes that plague new software entrepreneurs, which include not choosing the market wisely, underestimating the budget, being cheap when selecting developers to work with, and waiting to launch. Avoiding these blunders should help your entrepreneurial endeavor be nothing short of successful.

Ethan Drower is the Co-Founder and Operating Partner of CiteMed, which is revolutionizing the European Union Medical Device Regulation (EU MDR) process. Literature Search and Review is the cornerstone of medical device companies’ Clinical Evaluation Report, and CiteMed has made this process more streamlined and optimized than ever. The CiteMed team was formed to deliver a high volume of beautifully written and formatted Literature Reviews on timelines that will enable companies to meet their EU MDR goals. CiteMed’s top goal is to help companies get their medical products to market as quickly as possible, all while maintaining state-of-the-art compliance with the European Commission regulations. A renowned business expert, Ethan educates others on the fundamentals of launching a successful software product, tips for aspiring entrepreneurs, and more.


Boosting Investments in Eco Battery Industry to Drive Global Bromine Market

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘World – Iodine, Fluorine And Bromine – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights‘. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

Rapidly expanding manufacturing of zinc-bromine batteries, strong eco-friendly competitors for lithium counterparts, is to stimulate the growth of the global bromine market. Compared to lithium analogues, zinc-bromine batteries are more cost-effective and less flammable because they can function at high temperatures. Developers and producers of zinc-bromine battery components are actively fundraising last year thanks to the high market potential. Gelion launched an IPO on the London Stock Exchange, while Neogen Chemicals’ stocks more than doubled in 2021.

Key Trends and Insights

Investors see opportunities in zinc-bromine battery manufacturing, which could drive an expansion in the global bromine market. Accumulators using a zinc-bromine gel have a competitive advantage over their lithium counterparts because of their lower production costs and initial investment to reach industrial capacity. They are less flammable and can be used at temperatures over +50’С, while at those temperatures, lithium batteries have a high risk of catching fire at those temperatures.

In 2021, developers and producers of zinc-bromine components successfully attracted investments thanks to growing interest in this new alternative source of storing energy. Gelion PLC, an Australian zinc-bromine gel developer, launched an IPO on the London Stock Exchange to expand its domestic capacity, create additional production facilities in India and become profitable by 2024. The share price for Neogen Chemicals Ltd, the largest Indian manufacturer of bromine-based and lithium-based compounds, doubled last year. The company’s financial results showed a growth in revenues to Rs. 113.2 crore in Q2 FY22, 38% larger than the same period of the previous year.

Global Imports of Iodine, Fluorine and Bromine

In 2020, approx. 163K tonnes of iodine, fluorine and bromine were imported worldwide, picking up by 6.8% on the previous year. In value terms, iodine, fluorine and bromine imports rose remarkably to $1.5B (IndexBox estimates).

China was the major importer of iodine, fluorine and bromine globally, with the volume of imports amounting to 60K tonnes, which was approx. 37% of global purchases. Belgium (25K tonnes) ranks second with a 15% share, followed by India (8.3%) and France (4.8%). The UK (5.1K tonnes), the U.S. (5.1K tonnes), Norway (3.4K tonnes), Saudi Arabia (2.8K tonnes) and Canada (2.6K tonnes) followed a long way behind the leaders.

In value terms, China ($415M), Belgium ($212M) and the U.S. ($147M) constituted the countries with the highest levels of purchases in 2020, together comprising 51% of global imports.

The average iodine, fluorine and bromine import price stood at $9,252 per tonne in 2020, increasing by 4.4% against the previous year. The most notable increase in prices was attained by the U.S., while the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth during 2020.

Top Largest Suppliers of Iodine, Fluorine and Bromine

In 2020, Israel (62K tonnes) was the leading exporter of iodine, fluorine and bromine, committing 43% of total exports. It was distantly followed by Jordan (23K tonnes), Chile (20K tonnes), Belgium (14K tonnes), Japan (7.8K tonnes), the U.S. (7.5K tonnes) and India (6.9K tonnes), together comprising a 54% share of global supplies.

In value terms, Chile ($659M) remains the most significant supplier worldwide, comprising 44% of total exports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by Israel ($222M), with a 15% share of global supplies. It was followed by Belgium, with a 13% share.

Source: IndexBox Platform


The Pandemic’s Impact on the Shift to Reduce Operational Costs and Improve IT Ops Productivity

The COVID-19 pandemic caused an upheaval in IT operations worldwide and forced businesses to reevaluate ways to cut down expenses, the most significant being operational costs. Leaders were challenged with having to operate with skeletal staff and remote teams, while also needing to keep enterprises running 24×7 with virtually no downtime. Let’s look at how the pandemic impacted IT operations and what needs to be done to ensure that enterprises can continue to operate cost-effectively.

Leaner Team Structures to Scale Down Non-Discretionary Costs

The first step organizations took in 2020 was to downsize the contractual resources and variable talent pool deployed in network operations centers to cut back on non-discretionary costs. Leaner teams were expected to perform a similar quantum of work, which in turn emphasized the need to move to greater automation in IT operations management (ITOM).

Going forward, the challenge will be to attract the right talent, do more with less, and introduce automation in business processes to make do with smaller teams. To help reduce the operations workforce, there is growing interest in intelligent tools for notification and escalation, artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) solutions that minimize alert fatigue and automation of ticketing workflows via IT service management (ITSM) integrations. Further, some amount of in-house work can be shifted to consultants and contractors on an as-needed basis, so the resource is no longer on the payroll after the project completes.

Remote Management and the Rise of DaaS
With COVID-19 forcing businesses to give up leased and rented office spaces to reduce capital expenditure, skeletal staff were deployed onsite with others moving to a work-from-home mode of operation abruptly. This heightened the need for greater security, availability of the right talent with the required software and hardware resources and the need for collaboration among geographically dispersed teams.

Desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) was one of the largest areas of the cloud to experience an increase in demand because of this shift. DaaS is an inexpensive option for organizations looking to support their workers by providing secure access to enterprise applications remotely. Tool integrations for notifications like Slack as well as remote collaboration tools and meeting solutions like Teams, Trello and Zoom also rose to prominence.

The Rise of DevOps and Agile Practices for Deployment Automation

Organizations needed mechanisms for remote and automated deployments due to staff shortages and the absence of a centrally located workforce. This necessitated agile practices for breaking down organizational silos between software developers and IT operations personnel. In 2021, we expect to see increased adoption and continued use of DevOps and agile practices as well as automation in the application deployment and maintenance process.

Data center automation replaces labor costs with software and configuration costs. Dedicated automation architects can ensure that DevOps and agile practices are implemented across the enterprise, thereby reducing the need for manual configuration, monitoring and maintenance tasks.

Revamping Application Infrastructure and Moving to IaaS for Intelligent Scaling

Organizations chose to review their expenditure on dedicated hardware and software solutions to see if a switch to cloud and open source was possible. Virtualization i.e., moving to cloud (microservice and container-based architectures) emerged as a solution to the conundrum, since it reduces the number of physical servers required in the enterprise and the cost of maintaining applications can be significantly brought down.

Cost savings in cloud services have a real, immediate and perceptible cash impact, as moving to the cloud reduces capital expenditures for servers and related network equipment, transforming one-time capital costs to monthly operating expenses. The deployment of virtual management systems enables faster adoption of cloud platforms. Co-sourcing environment management functions provides the added advantage of having the right talent managing the environment with technical know-how and service guarantees in place.

Cloud providers can also provision additional resources like disk space, CPU, memory and communication lines faster and cheaper than on-premise servers and infrastructure. Intelligent workload trend-based capacity forecasting can help deliver resources accurately and avoid unnecessary expenditure.

Software licenses for new and existing tools can be re-examined to ensure that the cost of onboarding and integration with the existing toolset does not include hidden expenses or jeopardize existing investments in the ITOM infrastructure in any way. Eliminating unnecessary tools will also reduce the annual maintenance bills and staff time required to keep systems up and running.

Preventive Healing and Automation for Maximum Uptime

As businesses moved to more digital transactions and saw a marked increase in online traffic due to storefronts being shut, the primary challenge was to provide close to 24x7x365 uptime with reduced IT operations personnel, something made possible by automation. Enterprises adopted artificial intelligence for IT operations (AIOps) solutions providing proactive incident detection and autonomous resolution capabilities coupled with ITSM integrations, so the entire ticketing process was completely automated without the need for human intervention.

Traditional AIOps solutions suffer from certain shortcomings, including the inability to predict issues before they occur and initiate preemptive measures to avert outages. However, preventive healing solutions use patented techniques providing predictive detection of issues and allowing for remedial steps to be put in place so the issue can be averted. Some modes of preventive healing include dynamically optimizing or shaping the workload so the underlying system behavior remains unaffected, provisioning additional resources in cloud environments so the system can handle workload surges or projecting resource requirements based on a what-if analysis of future workload trends so businesses can perform app-aware scaling. Automation of ticketing workflows can be achieved by integrating notification and ITSM platforms.

Despite predictive alerting, some issues may still occur due to sudden network or storage outages, hardware glitches or third-party dependencies being unavailable. In such cases, accelerated root cause analysis with event correlations and suggestions on where the error originated can significantly reduce mean time to repair (MTTR). In the hands of a skilled IT operations analyst, time-synchronized contextual data comprising logs, diagnostic data, business error codes and code-level traces prove invaluable in establishing the chain of causation and closing the incident with minimal time and effort spent, thus leading to a more cost- and resource-efficient data center.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Girish Muckai is the chief sales and marketing officer at Heal Software Inc., the innovator of the game-changing preventive healing software for enterprises known as HEAL, which fixes problems before they happen. To learn more, visit