Viresh Bhatia, founder of Installshield, had one important skillset when he launched his company: he knew how to code – how to design and write software products.
Viresh and his partner created a bunch of software products, not knowing what would be successful. One of those products they called Installshield, which made loading new software easy on a wide variety of computers.
The product had dozens of competitors. How could two guys working out of a 10×10 office generate sales and stand out from the crowd? Not knowing anything about marketing or advertising, they made a bet on a full page ad in PC Magazine. Their bet paid off – catapulting Installshield ahead of every other developer toiling away on products that in some cases were better than Viresh’s.
But there was also a secret buried within their strategy. Viresh insisted his ads run opposite Microsoft or IBM, and a virtuous kind of guilt-by-association then kicked into gear. Installshield basked in reflected glory, becoming linked in the minds of buyers with the big guys.
As a result Installshield became the de facto standard on computers all around the world. By the time Viresh sold, the company was worth $78 million.
Viresh had to leave his comfort zone to win. He got past his computer science degree to win on a new battlefield, not one of coding but of marketing and branding. If to win you had to leave your comfort zone – could you? What would you do?