Are You Building a Software Product or Just More Software?

It’s the difference between users and customers

Joe Procopio
4 min readOct 28, 2021


Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Are you building a software product? Or are you just building software?

It seems like a simple enough question. But like most simple questions, when you get under the hood, the first answer isn’t always the right answer.

I love great pieces of software, but the startup dustbin is full of great pieces of software.

Don’t think in terms of software and users

It seems obvious on its face, but when your platform is the core of your business, you’re not building software for users, you’re creating a product for customers.

That one small clarification influences everything from capturing customer information to developing the user experience (UX) and user interface (UI).

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

First, track customers earlier and longer than you would track users

A user becomes a user when they log in to your software with a username and password. But if you want to develop a product around customers, that login moment is way too late in the process to start tracking them.

A customer is a customer before they use your product, before they even buy your product — it’s the moment they decide that your product is worth a look.

That’s also the moment when the clock starts ticking for you to capture everything you need to know in order to close the sale. That clock will stop ticking quickly.

Whether you’re marketing with ads, email, content, or direct outreach, the first time a prospect comes into contact with one of your marketing or sales methods, your goal is to save that customer to your database, preferably with a way to contact them. That one database record is the root of all their activity moving forward, even long after they stop paying money to use your product.

Because a customer is still a customer long after they lose interest in your product. Your strategy will eventually be a process of reaching out to millions of people to find thousands of customers. This…



Joe Procopio

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building & GROWERS. Write at and More at