Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The business of software, Harry Potter and the Iron Maiden

It's curious how certain terms are used in completely different context and topics.
The kiss of death is the dreadful spell cast by dementors in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

But the kiss of death is also the more dreadful action undertaken by VCs when financing a startup, as described by Michael A. Cusumano in The Business of Software: as the author explains during the book, the Kiss Of Death consists in the irresistible desire of VCs to maximize the investment, by pushing the company to build a product at any cost.
This usually means, to the average startup, to open new offices or refurbish the existing with luxury furniture, hire new people with different skills, spend into great marketing campaigns, target the broadest market ever (USA), put enormous efforts (both technical and financial) into risky and unpredictable paths.

All this usually translates into a Flight of Icarus:

His eyes seem so glazed
As he flies on the wings of a dream
Now he knows his father betrayed
Now his wings burn to ashes to ashes his grave

Cusumano has no quick-and-dirty recipe to build a successful company, but he gives the reader interesting thoughts and some rough checklists to evaluate the wealth of your company: if I were you, I'd buy a copy of his book.

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