Bury Dead Unicorns

    facezombieIn the world of IT business, there are a huge number of all kinds of blockbusters, but there are more products ordered to live longer. Many people think that the worst thing that can happen to a product or company is death, but it is not. In fact, it’s much worse when the product turns into a “zombie” .

    Such a strange form of life, when a startup did not become successful and did not finally merge. Everything seems to be all right, some users are available, a relatively stable, but insignificant flow of funds that allows the project to stay afloat, and absolutely no development, like the traffic flow after heavy snowfall on the Moscow Ring Road from Shchelkovsky Highway to the 22nd kilometer.

    Zombies take time and resources and slow down their team. Zombie services require security updates, need monitoring, and of course updates as the APIs of the third-party products involved change. Mobile “zombie” products need updates to work with new form factors and must be compatible with new versions of mobile operating systems. But the most important thing is that the "zombies" have a significant psychological burden on the development team.

    Technician developers are mostly pretty pragmatic people, and almost always realize when they work in the interests of the zombie product. Any "undead" always has certain characteristics and signs. A small number of customers, the absence or extremely low number of new client registrations, slow or absent traffic growth, zero effectiveness of marketing activities and the absence of new sales, and these are just some of the most pronounced signs of “zombies”.

    Some people may think, “it’s good that at least I have at least some work,” and I would not say that such a position is fundamentally wrong. No wonder Bill Gates said that"Frying burgers in McDuck is no less than dignity and our great-grandfathers would call any - even such - work, a very good chance . " Although today qualified specialists already have no problems getting decent work. Working for the zombie product in the current environment is the surest way to crush the team’s morale and lose its best members. Now there are a large number of successful products and companies that right now desperately need smart specialists.

    Successful products acquire new customers, submit to new requirements and requirements, and, importantly, eliminate new inevitable errors discovered by enthusiasts. In this case, the only criterion that really matters, both at the initial stages of the project development, and in the future, is the development dynamics or traction in English . For any investor, this is the primary parameter of a startup, which indicates the feasibility of investments. If there is no dynamics, dry the oars, your project will quickly turn into a “zombie,” and the best thing you can do for yourself is to stop wasting resources on supporting and improving the product. In such a situation, it is useful to recall one ancient Native American proverb: "the horse is dead - get off!"
    Of course, everything possible must be done to provide alternatives to your customers, even if they are your competitors, but efforts in this direction will not be in vain, because they will leave a good impression about you that you may need in the future.

    Most often, traction is measured in the number of active users, the number of closed sales, or transaction volumes. Usually, if after 12 months of functioning of the product the traction does not increase, the current situation indicates an inevitable and sad end.

    Google, as you know, closes products that, in their opinion, turn into a "zombie" state. Many users of Google services were upset by the state of affairs when the corporation buried products with tens of thousands of users, including myself, but the courage in the ability to “pull the trigger” in such situations is worthy of great respect. I believe that everyone should remember this example. Business - the territory of pragmatics and romantic feelings are inappropriate here.

    "Zombies" always restrain development and slow down progress, and sometimes can lead to the collapse of teams and the departure of the best specialists in competing companies. Do you need it?

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