Stories about Software


Reader Question Round-Up: Software Code of Ethics and Niching

I really hit my video creation stride last weekend, making 3 different videos.  Two of them were for Hit Subscribe’s YouTube channel and one reader question round up.

So consequently, this week I bring you another digest post and round-up in frame, below.  This one had a lot of questions about niching, all arising out of a blog post I wrote over the summer:

  1. Should there be a software developers’ code of ethics?
  2. How do you know if your niche is too broad or too narrow?
  3. Is “I help customers add features to old software, faster” a good niche?
  4. How did I, personally, come by business knowledge and an understanding of niches?

The Challenge of the Niche, And Some General Advice

It’s no surprise to me that the niching post generated three reader questions in short order.  I have more in my backlog besides.

Niches and how to select one number among the top things folks ask me about.

And for good reason.  It’s really hard to pick a niche.  I think doubly hard because the modern workforce conditions us to optimize as generalists, seeking performance grades.

And finding a niche requires the opposite of that.

So here’s some quick advice for how to steer your thinking in the right direction.  Consider the sorts of questions you ask yourself when thinking about potential niches.  Are they things like these?

  • What am I good at?
  • Which sorts of tasks do I enjoy?
  • What would I be qualified to do?
  • Are there things from my work history that would make good candidate niches?

If so, you’re doing it wrong.  Remove “I” and “my” from your thinking altogether, and ask questions like these?

  • Who needs help?
  • What do members of this community struggle with?
  • How do people typically solve this problem and are they happy with the solution?

It may seem counter-intuitive, but a great way to kick your thinking onto the right track is to outlaw the first person when brainstorming your niche. (Italicized to really drive home the irony.)


  • Positioning is related to niching, but more about articulating the niche once you’ve picked it.  That said, ideas about positioning can be informative for niche selection, and I just recently caught this podcast episode about positioning.
  • For you Windows users out there, go hit WinKey-V.  Do it. It will change your life if you’ve never done it before.
  • I’ve often done this and lapsed from it with varying degrees of discipline. But starting last week, I got back on the horse with strictly using the pomodro technique and this tomato timer, and the productivity boost has impressed me.

The Digest

And, that’s actually all I’ve got right now.  I’ve been pretty limited in output lately, so usually when I do write (or record) I try to do posts or videos for this venue.

Speaking of which, here’s the video: