Monthly Archives: April 2010

SQL Pretty Printer

I did some consulting a few months back for James Wang of SQL Pretty Printer, concentrating mainly on marketing and usability. James was kind enough to send me an update on his progress and allow me to reproduce it here:

I launched my product SQL Pretty Printer several years ago, but I wasn’t satisfied with sales. So I contacted Andy to do some consulting about my product and website.

After several rounds of questions, Andy looked at my product and website and did some research. Andy’s final report is easy to read and understand, and lists about 100 actionable points about my product and website. After that, it took me about 3-4 weeks to apply this advice with the help of Andy. 3 months later, I’m really satisfied with the result: the downloads have increased 36%, and the sales increased 25%.

So my conclusion is if you have a product, and want to sell more, Andy is the person you need to approach.

SQL Pretty Printer is a good example of focussing on a single, well-defined problem and really nailing it, allowing you to turn this:

ugly sql

Into this:

pretty sql

SQL Pretty Printer has a wide range of formatting options and comes as a standalone Windows app, Visual Studio add-in, SSMS add-in and even an API for integration into your own app. If you have to work with less than beautiful SQL I recommend you try it.

2Checkout fail

I use as a backup payment processor (useful for when PayPal reject a valid card or for people who don’t want to use PayPal). I got this email from 2Checkout a few days ago:

Dear PerfectTablePlan,

The following notes have been added to your account.

Please review this information and take corrective action, if needed by: as soon as possible.

Details: It has come to our attention that you have one or more orders that did not bill because they have not been marked as shipped in the Vendor Admin(VA).’s policy will not allow an order for tangible goods to bill if the order is not marked shipped.

We strongly suggest that you notify customers before re-authorizing a charge for any order older than 30 days to prevent unexpected charges and/or bank overdraft fees. Here is a list of your order(s) not marked shipped:

[order no snipped]

To re-authorize and mark your orders as shipped, please follow these steps:

1. Log in to your account.

2. Click on the “Shipping” Tab

3. Click on the “Marked Shipped” sub-tab

4. Choose the option for “re-authorize” and click on “Find Sales”.

5. If the orders have been shipped click on “re-authorize card”

6. If the re-authorization is successful return to the mark shipped tab and choose “Unshipped”.

7. Mark each order as shipped. You are required to enter tracking information or “tracking number not available”.

8. Orders marked shipped will bill within 48 hours.

Please contact our Customer Care Center if you need further assistance.

Thank you,

[signature removed]

Because the customer ordered a CD, 2Checkout doesn’t bill them until I manually marked the order ‘shipped’. I forgot (I have other things to do). They waited nearly 3 months to remind me that I hadn’t marked the order shipped. Then I had to go through 8 steps in their clunky control panel to mark the order as shipped. Why do I have to manually mark the order shipped when other payment processors don’t require it? Why didn’t their email include a link that took me straight to the appropriate page? Why did they wait 3 months to remind me, when 3 days would make a lot more sense? The net result is a waste of my time and (much worse) a customer who may be unhappy about being billed nearly 3 months after the expected date.

I tried to send them some feedback about this through their feedback form, but the form returned:


Consider this post as my feedback.