A Marketplace is a Garden
This is an analogy I sometimes use to describe the phases of platform and marketplace development to non-technical clients and entrepreneurs. I find it can help manage expectations, and prepare business owners for what they’re about to get into.
When you begin gardening, you might prepare the landscape, till the soil, plant the flowers, spread compost, and so on. Then you wait. Your garden begins growing, and you get to enjoy the beauty of nature.
But your job isn’t done! A garden requires constant care. You’ll need to water it regularly. Weeds will sprout and need to be removed. A blight might strike, and the effected plants will need to be ripped out to avoid the inevitable spread.
The careful attention of a gardener is needed to keep the garden alive. Any garden left unattended will eventually be overrun by weeds and pests.
A marketplace is no different.
After careful planning, months of development work, the initial version of your marketplace platform is finished. You launch and your early adopters love it.
But your job isn’t done! Bugs will pop up that couldn’t be anticipated before launch, and will need to be fixed. Feedback from your new users will cause you to re-evaluate your strategies, and require tweaks to the application.
And once you obtain a healthy amount of traffic to your marketplace, scaling issues might develop. Database queries that were fast with a small amount of data are suddenly incredibly slow, and will need to be optimized. Storage might be filling up due to an unexpected amount of user uploads, so data will need to be compressed or archived. Web servers might not be able to keep up with the number of users, and will need to be upgraded.
The careful attention of a technical professional is always needed to keep your marketplace platform alive. And with constant care, your marketplace will flourish, just like a beautiful garden.