How do you keep your product current?

Answered by: Phil Fernandez, Co-Founder, Marketo

Category: Product Development

I'm a tech guy, I'm a product guy at heart I have never seen anything like this. The pace at which technology is moving and the competitive advantage that that new tech is providing over old tech has never been this way in the last 35 years. And I have been through the days of PCs. started as a mainframe assembly language programmer, so I've seen a few tech cycles over the years. At Marketo, we just watched halfheartedly as the tech cycle moved by. We started to have technical debt but the product team and the product marketing team and the product management team always managed the new product features – they always won out.

When people are not learning the new technology, you get old in an organization, you squander an opportunity. From the beginning, you’ve got to start constantly renewing. There has to be a formal research capability in an organization - even when there's no time and there's no place for it - the world is moving so fast and you’ll get left behind.

I was blessed with the CTO that could do magic things in DevOps but it wasn't this kind of a CTO. So, as a result, there needs to be somebody or someplace that's charged with thinking not about product but thinking about the future. You need to value technical currency. You need to value hearing about if and staying on top of it, You need to allow scheduled time.

M&A is often a great time to buy a company not for its talent --although that's a great reason to do it -- but for a technical shock to the organization because it's a newer company on a newer base. The bottom line is if you're three years old on your technology and a new company is entering your same market with leading-edge current technology, that new entrant will be running circles around your company with its agility, pace and performance. It’s going to win over a five-year cycle - every last time. If companies aren't realizing that this is a new world where technical currency has to be maintained absolutely every day -you will lose in business. Painful but true.