Getting things the wrong way round . . .

Bill Marriott wjm at
Sun Apr 20 20:00:46 CDT 2008

Hi Shari,

> If you publicly post that you are working on a new version, sales of the 
> current version take a nosedive.  People hold off purchasing, waiting for 
> the new version.  When it comes out, you do not get all the lost sales 
> back.  (There's a name for this phenomenon... I do not recall the name, 
> but it was named after a company that actually went out of business after 
> announcing that a new version was in the works. The company had been 
> previously very successful.)

It's called the "Osborne Effect." And like every legend out there it has a 
kernel of truth but is largely exaggerated. A string of poor decisions, and 
not merely the pre-announce of a computer model, led to Osborne's demise. 
Pre-announcements have been used to powerful strategic advantage by other 
companies many times.

In this case, the promise of 2.75 (later renamed to 2.9) did not have any 
discernable negative impact on sales, since we acquired more new customers 
over the period than at any time in the company's history. We have also been 
able to expand the number of developers working on the software.

Might have something to do with the way we did it.

- Bill 

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