Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Now or Never

For several years, I've had a particular software product idea in mind, but always figured it would be one of those things where you're 50 years old and go, "Yep, that was a really good idea. Someone could have taken that idea and built a good solid product out of it and probably have gotten rich. Yep, too bad no one did it." Man, that would really suck if that was me when I turn 50. Well, it turns out that no one else has run with this idea, and the market window is still open, but closing. I guess it's now or never, and I decided to take a chance and go for it. So, I recently quit from JetBrains and I'm now working out of my apartment on the new product. (I owe at least some inspiration to Paul Graham's essays on startups.)

Working at JetBrains was great and I take away a better understanding of what it takes to make a great software product. It was great to work with such talented people, and to participate in the IntelliJ community with all it's fantastic people. I'll still be participating, just in a different way, and maybe a little less often. And I'll always be a fan of JetBrains and its products.

It's funny, almost every single person I tell about this has the exact same question, "So, can you say what product you're building, or is it a secret?" I think the whole 'stealth mode' thing is bogus. If your startup idea is so easy to copy that you have to keep it a secret, then I think you're in for a rough ride with the competition. I think it's much more sensible to refine your 'pitch' with people who are curious, but don't really care one way or the other. On the other hand, this blog is quite public, so revealing too much could alert the real competition that they should be wary. On the third hand, if the idea is good enough, the competition is likely to be complacent and scoff at your idea rather than take it seriously. So, with that in mind...

The product is a software tool for pharmaceutical companies to build dynamic sales presentations with. Kind of like a cross between Powerpoint and Excel. There, that should appease the casually curious without giving away our 'secret sauce'. :-)