Things have been a little quiet on this blog as I have been busy on some new projects as well as continuing to work on PerfectTablePlan. I am announcing one of those new projects today.
Start your own software business
A two day intensive training course on how to create a profitable business selling your own software product
22/23 November 2013
There is a lot more to running a software business than knowing how to program. The last 8 years of running my own software business have been a huge learning experience for me. In this course I am going share as much as I can to help others succeed with their businesses. This is the course I wish had been available when I started out. I am looking forward to getting out from behind my computer and meeting aspiring software entrepreneurs.
There is a £50 discount if you book before the end of September and the course is limited to just 10 attendees. If you have ever dreamed of escaping your cubicle and becoming your own boss, what are you waiting for?
I have been steadily adding to the curated list of links on this site. Currently there are links to 200 articles, loosely categorized into topics such as ecommerce, market research, product naming, Pay Per Click and SEO. I have tried to select articles that contain ‘actionable’ information, rather than wafflely articles about ill-defined subjects such as time management and motivation. Some of the articles linked to were written by me, but the majority weren’t. I hope you find something useful. I would be surprised if you don’t.
Alwin Hoogerdijk has created a ‘Software marketing’ Facebook discussion group. Personally I’m not a fan of Facebook, as will be obvious to anyone that checks out the howling void that is my Facebook account. But Alwin is a very smart online marketer, so I have tried to overcome my aversion to Facebook and joined the group. Just don’t expect me to care how you are doing at Farmville …
I have put together a page of categorised links to blog posts and articles that I think might be useful to developers and marketers of commercial software in general, and microISVs/indie developers in particular. I intend to add more links from time-to-time. My rules for inclusion are secret, arbitrary and capricious, so please don’t ask to have your link added.
Bob Walsh has finally broken cover on his latest project and announced StartupToDo.com, an online community/web app for fledgling microISVs and web start-ups.
Starting a software business is a daunting prospect – you have a vast number of tasks to perform and decisions to make with limited time and resources. StartupToDo aims to speed up that process by providing a range of community requested/rated guides, community feedback on your website, a progress tracker, focussed discussion groups and more. Bob has put a huge amount of work into this and I wish him every success with it. A subscription is just $15 per month, if you pay annually.
MicroISV blog aggregator planetmiscroisv.com has died, for reasons unknown (Floyd, if you are reading this, I hope you are OK). Glenn Rice of backupbrain.com.au has kindly filled the gap with new aggregator microisvcentral.com. Thanks Glenn! Hopefully he will be able to fix the problem that is causing posts from this blog to not be displayed properly.
I put up $300 prize money for a humorous cartoon of a seating arrangement gone wrong. Fees cost me an additional $69. The detailed brief is here and I also supplied this rough sketch:
Here is the winner I chose:
I ran it as a ‘guaranteed’ competition to try and attract more designers I also made an effort to give plenty of feedback on the designs submitted and I let it run the full 7 days. I found the 99designs website easy and intuitive to use. Setting up the competition only took ten minutes or so. My only gripe is that the ‘eliminate’ and ‘choose winner’ buttons are so close together that it would be easy to click the wrong one. You do have to confirm the winning choice however.
Most of the other competitions are for logos and websites, so mine was a little unusual. But I still got over 40 different designs (some variations on a theme) from 20 different designers. You can see the designs here (those that haven’t been withdrawn). The quality of the entries varied, but much of it was really excellent. I am very happy with the winning entry.
99designs seems rather brutal for the designers. 40+ entries is common and some contests get over 1,000 designs entered. This means stiff competition and the designers don’t get anything unless they win. I am guessing that they are mostly students, who are happy for the practice, or living in cheaper parts of the world, where $300 is a significant amount of money. But it certainly offers excellent value for money for those running contests.
ISVtube was launched recently by Thomas Holz of easy2sync.com. The site aggregates videos of particular interest to microISVs and could be a very useful resource. To suggest additional videos email Thomas at:
Jeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky’s programmer’s Q&A site stackoverflow.com has now gone from private beta to public beta today.
I have been one of the private beta testers. I find the badges a bit patronising (I’m a 42 year old professional, not a boy scout), but otherwise I have been very impressed with the site. I think it is going to be a great resource for developers – assuming they can control the group dynamics of a large number of developers (the ‘herding cats problem’) while keeping the spammers at bay. A lot of thought has gone into the reputation system, voting, badges etc so it will be interesting to see what behaviour emerges.
Currently Software Engineering Radio has 102 podcasts, on topics as diverse as game development , Erlang, static analysis and LISP . IT Conversations is even more diverse. They are a great way to keep up to date, especially if you have a long commute.
 Don’t miss the weird bonus song at the end: “God wrote in LISP”.