If you can't get a key sale before you start, get a key sale before you go public. Most successful software has a cherished key player, such as Price Coopers' early endorsement of Lotus Notes. Success at an early stage is like drawing an ace out of the pack. The initial success not only lifts morale internally, it also lifts the product ahead of competition.
The importance of these sales can be significantly greater than the nominal value of the software. The adoption of Lotus Notes by a litmus buyer brought greater press coverage than Lotus could ever afford, and guaranteed a substantial income to Lotus for years. This underwrote Notes' future development.
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