Speed of App Development vs Size of Customer Base

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Many times I’ve heard an entrepreneur say they can’t compete with a larger, well funded competitor due to the number of software developers in their startup vs the competition. Immediately, I like to remind them that the speed of application development is correlated with the size of the customer base for most companies. That is, as the number of customers on a platform grows the pace of new feature development and expansion slows for several reasons:

  • More process and QA is introduced
  • More time is spent on scaling the app’s infrastructure
  • More bugs and edge cases are found
  • More people are involved in the product management decision making

Startups often win by moving faster than the competition, staying closer to the customer, and timing the market. Startups are better off going deeper in a specific area and using that as differentiation rather than trying to be as broad as another company with many times the resources.

What else? What other thoughts do you have on speed of app development vs size of customer base?

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