Law #18: The Law of Success
The Law of Success says that "success often leads to arrogance, and arrogance to failure".
The basic point of this chapter is a warning to not let yourself get too far from your customers. Truly small ISVs may not need to worry too much about this, but the admonition is valuable nonetheless.
As companies grow, the CEO tends to get busy with other stuff. She doesn't spend much time "in the trenches" anymore. He goes to a lot of meetings and spends a lot of time working on the big picture. In the process, she loses touch with the customer.
Despite what the chapter says, I think this effect may or may not be rooted in arrogance. The root problem might be simpler and more innocent. Maybe the CEO simply let himself get too busy. It seems quite possible to become detached from the basic activities of the company without growing a big ego.
But either way, forgetting the customer is a fatal disease. Fortunately, this disease is also preventable and treatable. Don't let it happen to you. Even as your company grows, stay involved in the basic stuff, at least a little bit:
- When you go to a trade show, spend some time in the booth talking to prospective customers.
- Answer a tech support call.
- Write some code.
- Help with the testing before the next release.
Don't get out of touch. When you do, you'll start to make bad marketing decisions.