Eric Sink has released his first report on his micro ISV experiment. I won’t rehash his entire article (although I will borrow gratuitously from his format) so I encourage you to read his article and then come back to my comments below. Eric’s comments are in bold.
1. I think I am disappointed.
- Just as nearly everyone goes through the same 5 steps in greiving, this is usually the first response for a shareware developer upon the release of their new application. We all go through the development process thinking we have done everything just right only to find that there are still miles to go before we have a product that will sell consistently.
2. I think this proves my experiment was fair.
- The following you have among the developer community is almost certainly not the primary demographic to which you will be marketing Winnable Soltaire. My mom certainly doesn’t know who you are, and she’ll be much more likely to purchase Winnable Solitaire than me. Therefore, I agree that your results have proven that your experiment is entirely fair.
3. I still think my hypotheses are mostly correct.
- As you state, each of your hypotheses are open to the judgement of the person starting their own endeavor. By making your results public, you have given others a window to the reality of starting a micro ISV that will allow them to form the hypotheses that work best for them.
4. I think “winnability” might be too small of a differentiator.
- Maybe. But you had to start somewhere. You didn’t fall into the classic trap of adding feature after feature until you’re two years into development and still have nothing marketable. I’m not suggesting that you start cloning Thomas Warfield’s games but you can always increase the focus by adding a timer to the game and make the point of the game to win as quickly as possible. It would drive most people crazy to know that the game can be won but they can’t get it done as quickly as they would like.
5. I think I could be more successful with a different kind of product.
- This is an excellent observation and speaks to the age old truth of creating something that you’re familiar with. (Not that you aren’t familiar with solitaire.) On the other hand, I would think that it would be very redeeming for you to turn this product into a success given that this is such a departure from “familiar territory”.
6. I think this is a great way to fail.
- The only bad way to fail is to not do anything. I do disagree somwhat with the statement “In business, the way to win is to not lose” though. Playing defense too much may simply slow the time to failure. A slow failure may end up being worse than a quick failure.
7. I think I know why I admire micro-ISVs.
- Building a micro ISV that provides enough income to be a full time endeavor is a dream that thousands of people share. Its hard to imagine many other careers that would be more desired than working from home and creating a business that can be almost completely automated once it is successful and established. Its definitely something to admire when you see someone who has reached that level. Its also worth admiring those who put forth the effort to try to reach that level.
8. I think a little bit of failure won’t hurt me at all.
- No it won’t. And it will make success that much sweeter.
9. I think my article is more successful than my product.
- One of the reasons I started this site was because of the response around the internet regarding the article. It’s great to see so many people showing interest in building a micro ISV to control their own success.
10. I think I need to be persistent.
- The unfortunate thing is that most people will spend the time to develop a product and give up when success doesn’t happen fast enough. Those who are persistent are the ones who will be able to realize every goal that got them started in the first place.