Under-Promise, Over-Deliver

ML Jan 30, 2006

I woke up remarkably early, all things considered, and sent out an email informing my team I’d be taking Monday on the HitTail project. I have such momentum, and am so ready to wire up the main homepage to be ready for the first visitors, that I’d be crazy to go into the office, engage, and risk putting it off for another week. My to-do list for today looks like this…

  1. Create the template files.
  2. Put placeholder files in location for FAQ, SEO Best Practices, Why Sign Up.
  3. Fix the navigational links to point to these new placeholder files.
  4. Put the new navigational links into the Blogger templates.
  5. Figure out how the babystep tutorials are going to be linked in.
  6. Link in the first tutorial, and the respective spiderspotter app.
  7. Connect the submit form to lead management.
  8. Start putting content on the placeholder pages.

The work that I need to do on my second round of intensive focus include…

  1. Final thought-work on the actual HitTail app.
  2. Creating the HitTail app.
  3. Giving a flavor for its power directly on the MLT homepage.
  4. Start communicating with the people who signed up early—probably create a public forum, so I can efficiently communicate with all of them at once, and they can communicate with each other.
  5. Ensuring that the conversations that are developing into Connors new client prospect opportunities are being handled properly.

One pitfall to avoid is actually acting on the information that the spider spotter app is revealing to me. For example, Bitacle bot has been trying to retrieve my atom.xml file from the wrong location. I realized the path I set to the XML feed in my Blogger settings was incorrect. I fixed it, but realized I had an absolutely fascinating app to write: one where I could measure the time between me submitting a blog entry, and spiders request that page or the data-feed.

I think I’ll make a list of lists that I need on the HitTail site.

  • Apps that I need to write (which will also become tutorials)
  • Markets, industries and technologies that I want to target
  • People that I need to reach out to (the influencers), and the message I need to deliver to each, based on their interests
  • Topics for the SEO Best Practice
  • Questions for the FAQ section
  • Topics that I intend to blog about
  • Pitfalls to avoid

Perhaps the biggest pitfall of all is over-promising. There is little as damaging as building up expectations, only to be let down. I stand the danger of over-promising to two different audiences: Connors (specifically, Connie), and the people who sign up early for HitTail. I have to start with a small, but potent kernel. HitTail will be modest in how far it’s reaching, but designed to strike a fundamental chord—one that’s in the tornado’s path. There’s no need to over-promise, because that small kernel is totally enough—and I have to focus on over-delivering that one small piece.

That’s very Web 2.0 thinking, by the way. Because everything interoperates, relatively easy, people can write mash-ups based on your app. Each person writing their mash-up is likely to have way more expertise in their problem domain than I do, so what they write USING my service is better than what I could write alone. My role then becomes to put out a few sample mash-ups to stimulate everyone’s imaginations.

The HitTail app will be one of the first Web Services for SEO. Hopefully, it will have the same attractiveness as Tag Clouds, Blog Roles, Bookmarks, and all the other things that are serving as mash-up fodder and material for blog templates. Of course, Google Maps is the ultimate mash-up service, and I will continue to use it for inspiration. But no over-promising!

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