The microISV test

Ok, so you’ve set yourself up as a one man software company and you’ve made some sales. But are you a real microISV/micropreneur/indie/startup? Take the test below and find out.

  1. You checked the number of sales you made overnight before you had your breakfast this morning.
  2. You measure the price of desirable objects (cars, houses, Xboxes) in terms of the number of licences you need to sell.
  3. You’ve outsourced some work to someone with no idea what they look like and only a vague idea where they live.
  4. When booking a hotel you are more interested in how good the Internet connection is than how good the restaurant is.
  5. Your product has at least 20 five star awards from download sites.
  6. You know what CTR, CPC and CPM mean.
  7. You have begged all your friends and family to ‘like’ your product’s Facebook page.
  8. You set up your computer or phone so it makes a special noise each time you get a sale.
  9. Your software has been cracked at least once.
  10. You have suggested to a particularly problematic customer that one of your competitors might have a more suitable product.
  11. You’ve done technical support while wearing a dressing gown/bathrobe (or less).
  12. You have Google alerts and Twitter searches set up for your product name.
  13. You start to get anxious after not checking your email for more than half a day.
  14. The last time you set an alarm clock it was because you were going on holiday and didn’t want to miss the flight.
  15. Your relatives think you don’t have a ‘real job’.
  16. You own at least 10 domain names.
  17. You have had to fix problems with your software or website while on holiday.
  18. You have had a least one chargeback.
  19. Your software has been flagged as malware by at least one anti-virus package.
  20. You use at least 3 different email addresses in the course of a day.
  21. You have explained what you do to someone and they said “And you make a living from that???”.
  22. You have used Google translate to answer a support email in a language you don’t understand.
  23. You use “we” when talking about your company, even though its really only you.
  24. Someone told you a half-baked idea they had in the shower that morning and said they would be willing to give you 50% of the profit if you did 100% of the work to  implement it.
  25. The last time you wore a suit and tie was to a wedding or a funeral.

I scored 25/25, of course (it’s my test). How did you do? Are there any other questions I should have added? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks to fellow microISVs Steph, Oliver, Terrell, Clay and Ian for suggesting some of the above.

47 thoughts on “The microISV test

  1. Steve McLeod

    Priceless, Andy. I scored 20+. I didn’t realise my way of operating was so common amongst fellow one-person software companies.

  2. Tom Reader

    I scored 24/25 – almost certainly the highest I have ever scored in any test of any type, so thanks for that. (I can’t comment on which one was a ‘no’, but suffice to say it’ll be 25/25 by the end of today).

  3. Sanjay

    Score: 21

    Number 15 and 21 surprised me. I didn’t think they were common:)

    * You often compare total sales this month with another.

    * You enjoy a nice afternoon nap.

  4. Alejandro Caballero

    23/25 here. Now I know I’m not alone. But those two proposed by Sanjay uphere seem to be good enough to be added!

    And perhaps -this may be related to the afternoon nap-:
    * If you work at home and you have family, you work overnight compensating the time you are forced to spend during the day helping out your couple and/or son(s).

  5. Mike


    * You’ve offered someone a refund and been disappointed when they refused.

    * People look weirdly at you when you tell then you paid for every track in your music collection.

    * You extrapolate a particularly good days sales to the entire year.

    * You have no idea how much you earn per hour of work expended.

  6. mranalogy


    Here’s two:

    * You extrapolate sales constantly. ($X so far this month would mean $Y for the whole month). (inspired by @Mike above)

    * You compare sales this year to last year every week.

  7. Manuel González Martínez

    I’m 21/25 only!

    Thank you for your great blog, and for this funny test!

    – Grow the “official” 25 list with all the proposed items made by mISV-ers who achieved at least 13/25 points (50%).
    – Make badges and t-shirts for us, and also an star award picture so we can publish it (see #5)

    My two propositions:

    * You evaluate learning a new language just to be capable of attending support inquires and/or translate your GUI.

    * You believe A/B testing everything in your life should be possible with just a few more tweaks.

  8. David Hyde

    Assuming I didn’t know anything about you it would be obvious from your questions that you’re the real deal. But this one bothers me:

    “You start to get anxious after not checking your email for more than half a day.”

    HALF A DAY??? Who can do that?

  9. Bruce Chapman

    Well, that’s a 24 for me, but only because I haven’t bothered with a Facebook page.

    The alarm one should be ‘or have a 3 am meeting with someone from the other side of the world’

    I think it would have been useful to add in a mention about the manic depressive state if a sales month starts off badly, but ends well. From ‘I will have to throw it all in’ to ‘I’m going to shout the bar’ in mere days.

  10. David Boventer

    “You own at least 10 domain names.” Yes. All these ideas and concepts for future multi-pound-euro-dollar-yen businesses that will certainly come true soon…

        1. smartcompanysoftware

          I have other domains too. The reason being that I have an idea that I want to pursue in the future so I’ve grabbed the domain now. I also have a company site and at some point I want to create websites for my individual products so I have those domains as well. If it makes sense for you to do this, then that is reason enough.

  11. Andy Brice Post author

    I have a lot more than 10. Different TLDs, mispellings, domains that make more sense in other languages, related keywords etc. Also domains for ideas I might develop one day.

  12. Anders Lundberg

    9 – but I only have one app released so far, I also do freelance work, and I drive my daughter to kindergarten every morning which requires an alarm clock (and no time to check sales). I also enjoy wearing suits, I didn’t go on holiday for a long time, and some of these questions are N/A to iPhone developers (no anti malware apps for instance). I’m also blessed with nice relatives :D

    I think the most telling of all the questions is #2. I’m not there yet, but I totally see it coming. I’ve been doing freelance writing for several years and I always count time as money. Like if someone asks me to go shopping, my first thought will be “that’s 1-2 hours so $50-100…”

  13. Andreas Löw

    Some additional ones:

    26) You have a T-Shirt with your software’s / companies’ logo
    27) You have at least one account on the following services linked in, digg, disqus, xing, facebook, twitter, bitbucket, github, stack overflow
    28) You are member in at least 20 software related forums
    29) You get blackmailed by people offering to buy your software instead of your competitor’s when you add feature X
    30) You get at least one mail per week where somebody lost his license key

    1. Andy Brice Post author

      >You get at least one mail per week where somebody lost his license key

      Per *week*? Despite having an auto key retrieval system, I get several of these pretty much every day.

      1. Mike

        I get emails asking for licence keys/download link sent in reply to the email containing the licence key/download link. I just cut/paste the quoted text and send it back to them.

  14. John W. King

    Scarily accurate list! I got 22 out of 25, the ones I answered no to are:

    #8 (haven’t had time or I probably would!),
    #14 (I have a day job otherwise I wouldn’t) and
    #25 (it was a christening!)

    Indeed I did #10 last night! (Well he wasn’t troublesome other than to ask for a feature that I want to add to my software but haven’t had the time).

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