It’s that time again. It happens every four years when we pay attention to sports we normally wouldn’t even stop to watch if every other channel was showing a commercial. One of those sports is curling. I’m sorry, curlers, I know you’re tired of being this example, but hang in there with me, I'm gonna champion for you.
Curling is the sport that people watch for a minute and then gesture with an aluminum-clad drink toward the television from their easy chair and say out loud , “Anyone could do that.” In a way, they have a point. Anyone can curl, just like anyone can ride in a bobsled. But just because you can, doesn’t necessarily mean you should, or that if you did, you’d be competitive.
Curling, like bowling and golf, to a lesser extent, is a sport accessible to people of all shapes and sizes. It does not take much to learn the basics, which is an equalizer of sorts. It does, however, take a ton of practice and athleticism to perform like the men and women competing in the Olympics. People love to make jokes and laugh while watching curlers sweep the ice, suggesting they could come over to sweep the floors of their homes. But watch how hard they sweep and for how long they can keep it up, while running down a sheet of ice. Roll your eyes if you want, those athletes are skilled at their sport and take it very seriously to be better than anyone else. Seriously, I bet you never thought you'd be glued to a Curling highlight reel, but check out the video I embedded in this post!
It’s time to tie this back to software because I’m building to a point, so here it is: just because it looks easy doesn’t mean it is. Consider the hard work and dedication that goes into being a top competitor, even when it looks simple at first blush.
This lesson applies not just in sports, but to software or any product that leads its market. We here at InterProse, for example, spend countless hours making sure our products get better with every month’s update and integrates with other software products that our customers want to connect to it. These are not things that happen spontaneously. When our customers power up their subscriptions and plug in the third party technology they want, it looks as easy as flipping a light switch to them. It should! We are specialists in our field and that’s exactly how it’s supposed to work when we are doing our jobs.
Unlike Olympic athletes who get 47 months to practice in preparation for 1 month of intense competition where four years of experiments and mistakes inform them how to beat their competition, we are in competition every minute of every day and judged mercilessly by our sponsors. This is no complaint, the challenge of always performing at our best is what drives us, as it does any business that cares for its customers and strives to set the bar for its market, especially because our success is so integrally tied to our customers’ ability to stay up and running.
Software like ours is what our customers build their business upon, and it should just work well, all the time. So we’re going to keep sweeping and sliding down the ice as if every day is the Olympics, honing our skills in our niche field to serve our existing fans, build a crowd of new fans, and hold our place on the podium.
Just know that when we make it look easy, that’s because we’re really, freakin’ good at it.