What's this all about?

Well, once upon a time, when I was asked “what do you do?”, I would answer, “I’m an IT Consultant”. Now this is kind of non-descript, and I wasn’t really happy with that answer. So, I changed my answer, I would instead say “I’m a freelance contractor specialising in bespoke database solutions in Informix 4GL”, which generally received a blank stare.

What I really wanted to say was “I write software”, a nice, clean and simple answer, and most people understand what this means, even if they have no idea on how to go about it. A high percentage of people that I talk to have a computer, or at least use one at work, they know what software is, they’ve had to have software installed on their PC, they’ve seen the box, the CD, and the crashes!

Now, I could say, “I write software”, because I do, day in, day out, and have made a reasonable living out of it for more than eight years, but it doesn’t quite ring true. I have this nagging feeling in the back of my head that I can’t quite say it until I’m writing software that people can buy, even though my clients are effectively buying the software I write by paying for the time it takes me to implement whatever it is they contract me to write. I want to be able to point people to a website where people can see details of what I’ve created, download it, fall in love with it and (hopefully) then pay for it. I want to be an ISV (Independent Software Vendor).

And this is where the story starts, I’ve come up with an idea for a desktop application that I think there is a small market for. It’s no killer app, and the user base will always be fairly small, but I think it’s a sustainable market, although it does depend on another application continuing to be profitable.

I want to get my feet wet, in fact I want to get soaked from head to toe, but I’m under no illusion that what I’m planning is going to pay the mortgage. Instead, this app is going to be the springboard into the world of software development and marketing for desktop apps. It’s going to take a lot of work, I probably haven’t even a clue as to how hard it’s going to be, but I want this new career to take off, badly, a belly flop isn’t even a consideration.

So, in the same vein as Lachlan Gemmell I’m going to write up a few notes as I walk along the long road to releasing my first piece of software to the public. Lachlan has quite a long release plan for his software, probably because his software sounds as though it may be quite a complex beast, even though he’s looking to target a market segment with simpler needs than usually expected for his kind of product. But I intend to get my product out as quickly as I can, in a reduced format, so that people can start using it and telling me what they would like to see in its future.

However, like Lachlan, I’m not going to spill the beans just yet on what I’m developing, until I’m closer to market I’m not comfortable with letting people in on the idea. Not because it’s some revolutionary product, it isn’t, but because it’s something that many developers could develop, and I don’t want someone with more desktop experience coming to market quicker than me. That would mean I would be at best second to market, and it’s most definitely best to be first, as the first law in The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing contests.

No comments.

  1. Best of luck to you Ian, I hope we both manage to make successful careers out of this. I’ll be following your experiences eagerly, I’m sure you’ll be surprised both by events and by yourself along the way.

    Also my software’s not such a complicated beast either. I mentioned that in my early posts but I’ll have to repeat it again soon to stop people from thinking I’m writing the next “big thing”.

  2. Thanks for the kind words Lachlan, and good luck to you too, I too hope we both manage to carve out successful careers in the software industry.

    Yes, please do post a few more details about your product, I know it’s very difficult to give a good impression of the complexity (or lack thereof) without specifying any compromising details though. My product really is quite simple, with all your talk of the Borland tools and modelling, it just makes your development sound a lot more complicated than mine. But, with neither of us actually knowing what the other is building, how can either of us tell! I guess we’ll just have to wait until the first press release ;-)