Most SaaS leaders intimately understand the problem they want to solve.

They have a pretty good idea whose it is, and they know the value their solution will deliver.

But turning all this in to successful commercial grade software is a challenge, and it’s all too easy to spend $500,000 on something that ultimately has no value.

I saw yet another expensive stalled attempt again recently.

The developers were obviously following a spec, but the quality of the product and its usability were underwhelming.

Many projects end up this way, but why?

Poor quality means the developer’s are in trouble, but usability failures typically arise from poor understanding.

The founder is often a subject matter expert, but developers rarely are, so they need to grasp the founder’s vision.

And there is ONE absolutely critical part to this.

They need to understand the drivers for user engagement, and this is all about NEEDS.

Users NEED to solve THEIR problem, and they will see this from their perspective.

So remember when you’re imagining YOUR solution.

Your point of view is just that.

It’s yours, not theirs.

So put yourself in your prospects’ shoes and see the world through their eyes.

Because commercial software design is an exercise in empathy.


There are 2 things going on RIGHT NOW…

…of monumental importance to Australia’s future –

Covid19 and a technology revolution.

The virus has forced us to adopt technology at lightning speed.

12 months ago, telehealth and working from home were big ideas with little implementation, but a harsh reality has forced our hand.

Our old normal is DEAD.

15 years ago, I’d have called this a crisis, but today, we are in the midst of a tech revolution.

We can work from home, sign documents and see a doctor via the internet.

Today, we have the opportunity and motivation to reinvent our work, health, education and more, and we MUST seize the day for IT WILL NOT COME AGAIN!

Resources and agriculture have served us well, but the future is calling and we must forge a new Australia.

This is the “clever country”, an “innovation nation”, and “Our land abounds in nature’s gifts”.

But, if we are to take our place alongside other world technology leaders, we need collaboration between business, academia and government, and leadership from all three that invests in our people.

I’ll be discussing these ideas and more on September 2nd as part of the Victorian Digital Innovation Festival #DIFVIC

What will you do to Advance Australia Fair?


Building a SaaS platform?

You need 2 things


So pick the team and let them choose, right?


Here’s the rub.

THEIR choice will affect YOUR costs, time to market and future options.

Languages like C# and JavaScript are the most flexible, and they’re used with pre-built libraries to simplify common jobs.

There are popular ones and many wannabes.

But coders just LOVE shiny new things, and new libraries come and go regularly.

You may find yourself dependent on a dying one.

Code solutions are often free but take far more time, so that’s more money on wages.

Then there are #LowCode tools.

These abstract many of the common patterns and offer rapid development, but, you pay for these and they’re less flexible.

If you need to go beyond their boundaries, it gets tricky, and you may hit performance issues, as a CEO I spoke with recently has found.

And then there are #NoCode tools.

They’re even faster and less flexible.

Code, #Lowcode or #NoCode could all be the right answer.

But how do you choose?

Well, when it comes to tools, if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

You can make the right STRATEGIC choice IF you understand the problem.

The question is, do you have anyone on your team that does?


I very much want you to succeed in your SaaS ventures

So I hope you never end up saying any of these.

I shoulda validated there was a market.

I shoulda walked away and accepted my early costs.

I shoulda focussed on a tighter niche.

I shoulda been clearer about my prospects’ needs.

I shoulda written a more detailed spec.

I shoulda invested in experienced developers.

I shoulda learned more about the costs of building commercial software.

I shoulda been more engaged in the development process.

I shoulda completed the browser version before building two different mobile apps as well.

I shoulda generated some interest well before going to market.

I shoulda worked out a more detailed revenue model.

I shoulda thought about referral strategies.

I shoulda written some proper documentation.

I shoulda embedded contextual help.

I shoulda developed some tutorials and training courses.

I shoulda encouraged community engagement.

I shoulda built a partner network.

I shoulda worried more about delivering value and less about the technology.

I shoulda tried to be better rather than different.

And I REALLY don’t want you to look back ruefully and say, I shoulda engaged the services of a specialist #SaaS adviser.

So please, DON’T BE A SHOULDA.


Your SaaS has made it to market – Now the HARD work!

You’ll have a list of bugs, and a list of features people NEED.

And an even bigger one of their WANTS.

Version 1 is just a start, a line in the sand.

So, what’s next?

Fix the essentials and address some other issues.

Then you can start a SECOND development stream, with larger jobs for the next line in the sand.


V2 must work with ALL that has gone before, and so must V3, V4 etc

EVERY feature you release will be used by someone, so YOU CAN’T JUST REMOVE THEM.

Your mistakes will live forever, an expensive millstone that keeps on growing and slowing.

Can it be avoided?

No, but its effect can be minimsed.

✅ Stick closely to your core product vision

✅ Avoid quick and dirty fixes

✅ Rigorously plan new features

✅ Record data to measure user activity

✅ Add complex features in stages

✅ Avoid different versions for different customers

The more complex your world, the slower and more expensive it is to learn, maintain and verify.

SaaS is like a golf tournament.

Good play in round 1 won’t win it, but bad play will help you lose it!

So keep it simple and settle in the for long game


Success in SaaS comes when you play the long game

Getting your service right is important.

The better it is, the more likely customers will stick around, and as it’s far cheaper to keep them than find them, it makes a lot of sense.

So, what exactly is good service?

We all know what it is in a restaurant, but what should we be looking for when it comes to software platforms?

Here are 15 things I like to see –

✅ Contextual help that explains features in situ

✅ Documentation to help wider understanding

✅ Written tutorials

✅ Video tutorials and screen captures

✅ Training courses

✅ Email support

✅ Chat support

✅ Phone support

✅ Community forums

✅ User groups

✅ Onboarding services

✅ Consultancy and product specialists

✅ Regular informative communication, not just bumf that tries to sell

✅ Feedback mechanisms

And lastly

✅ New features and fixes

All of these take time to create and deliver, and they all need to be kept up to date.

Yes, it’s expensive, but that’s life.

They’re part and parcel of delivering high quality software as a service.

You can cut quality, price and race to the bottom if you want.

It’s an option for mass market offerings.

But for most, better quality will attract better customers and produce better results.

Building commercial grade SaaS is expensive and challenging

Making something engaging is even more so

And keeping them happy is a never ending battle

In the early days, it’s a bit like playing with a Rubik’s Cube

You see all the pieces, and you might even have a sense of what the solution looks like

But getting everything in order seems impossible

Get one thing sorted, then a small move messes up other bits

But for those in the know, there’s no mystery

It’s just a puzzle

And like all conundrums, it has rules and boundaries

Apply the right techniques and you can watch the answer appear as if by magic

A twist or two here and a turn or two there

A development STRATEGY to get you to market

The FUNCTIONALITY your customers need

A LOOK AND FEEL that encourages engagement

EDUCATION tools to get your customers off to a good start

Contextual HELP and reference materials so they can solve their problems

And SUPPORT for the times when they can’t

These are the software six

The primary areas that all software projects should focus on

Do you have anyone on your team to help you solve the software puzzle?

You might think you can’t afford to engage someone like me

But the real question is can you afford not to?