Economic potential of your product is in direct relation to the amount of work you put into creating it.

It might seems obvious when stated like that, but its not. I’ve seen people put 3 or 4 weeks of development time into the product and expect it to sell. Nope, it won’t. It will tank.

There are rare concepts that have worked without much work put in. Like Million Dollar Web Page. However, that works once in a blue moon and for the first person that does it. Clones tank. If you can pull it off, my hat tip to you.

If you have an idea for product or service that takes couple of weeks of work to implement, it is not worth much. The barrier for entry is so low that even if you manage to start selling it, army of clones will be on your heals and your head start is that same couple of weeks it took you to implement it. Actual worth of that product to your customers is likely very low thus you can only sell it cheap, if at all.

I am not only referring to actual software development time here. This includes everything from marketing, usability design to software development. For example, making something super easy to use takes much more time than making something average or hard to use. Just try doing it… Marketing something so well that it quickly spreads and reaches lots of people is not result of couple of weeks of effort either.

However, it does not mean that your multi-year development effort and 200,000 LOC software product will sell. Large projects and long development times carry their own risks. They may have potential, yes, but…

Unless what you are making is something people are willing to pull out the wallet for it will fail. Easy check for that is to look around and see whether someone else is selling the same thing. If you can’t find anyone selling that, very likely there is no market for it.

So next time you have that million dollar idea, do quick check on how long it will take to implement it. If it is couple of weeks, likely its not worth it.

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