This month’s microISV profile is of Clarke Scott, founder of Vivid Software. Clarke is developing a CRM application that is not yet launched so we have another view of the microISV life that hasn’t been profiled yet.
What led you to the decision to go out on your own and start a software company?
I had been working as an software developer for many years and I have been working with Microsoft .Net since 2002. As a consultant you never really own anything! You walk to a client build them a product and leave. I wanted to own the whole software development process, every part of the decision making AND the product. I had a gap my schedule late last year so rather than fill it with more of the same. I thought it was about time I built something of my own.
You’re going to be entering a very competitive market. What is your initial plan to get your product out there?
At first I had the idea of selling the product from my web site.
Recently I had meetings with several companies about partnering. I made a verbal agreement with a one, a communication company here in Australia.
Why did you decide to write your own CRM application?
I have a good understanding of the CRM but, more importantly I see a growing interest in CRM especially in SME’s. I believe that over the next couple of year CRM’s popularity will increase 3 fold.
Do you consider the very large CRM vendors to be your direct competitors or will you be targeting a more niche market?
I think that my competitors are not necessarily the companies but, products. Some of these products are owned by large CRM companies so yes, I guess they are.
How do you plan to differentiate yourself from your competitors?
I have spent a lot of time researching usability. The functionality of my product is roughly the same as the ACT, Goldmine and the others. But, the UI looks a lot better and the usability I believe is far greater than any CRM on the market but, hey I’m bias!
What has been the most difficult part of being on your own and developing a product?
I haven’t found any aspect of building the application difficult. For me working on my own has been a real blessing. It has allowed me to plan out each week. What I want to achieve for that given day or week.
What is a typical day like for you?
Monday to Friday I start at 8.00 am finish at 6.00 pm. Half hour for lunch. A couple of coffee breaks. Usually on both Saturday and Sunday I do any research, read weblogs etc.
How do you decide which features to incorporate into your application?
I started by documenting the core functionality of a typical CRM product. Then added features extra featured that I would want in a CRM. Worked out how long that would take me to build. As it turned out it was going to take too long to build with all the features I had documented, so I had to take quite a few out for version 1.0.
Do you have a price in mind for your product already?
The price will be around $200.00 Australian dollars.
What future plans do you have for your company? Will you be adding services and other products?
Yes, over the next few years I will build an enterprise version and my CRM product.
This will be built using .Net 2.0 and it will be a Smart Client. That is a Win form client, web services and a SQL Server database. I also believe that tablet PC’s will be big so, I will build a tablet PC based product.
What is the best piece of advice that you’ve received as a result of starting your own business?
A close friend of mine who who arrived in Australia in the late 1970’s with $10.00 US in his shoe. Who did not speak English and who now runs a very successful publishing company once told me “In order to achieve anything you must have wisdom, courage, strength and persistence. And above all take care of your customers.”
I try to take this advice into every aspect of my life not just business.
—————- About Vivid Software —————-
Clarke Scott is the founder of Australian based software company Vivid Software. Vivid Software’s product, vCRM 2005, is currently in development and will be launched in the near future. More information can be found on Clarke’s personal site, clarkescott.com
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