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JOEL ON SOFTWARE: And on Diverse and Occasionally Related Matters That Will Prove of Interest to Software Developers, Designers, and Managers, and to Those Who, Whether by Good Fortune or Ill Luck, Work with Them in Some Capacity by Joel Spolsky

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thirty-eightSTRATEGY LETTER III:LET ME GO BACK!

SATURDAY, JUNE 3, 2000

When you're trying to get people to switch from a competitor to your product, you need to understand barriers to entry, and you need to understand them a lot better than you think, or people won't switch, and you'll be waiting tables.

A couple of chapters back, I wrote about the difference between two kinds of companies: the Ben & Jerry's kind of company that is trying to take over from established competition, versus the Amazon.com kind of company that is trying a "land grab" in a new field where there is no established competition. When I worked on Excel in the early 1990s, Microsoft was a card-carrying member of the Ben & Jerry's camp. Lotus 123, the established competitor, ...

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