Archive for April, 2005

Selling SATAN

Friday, April 29th, 2005

In the 1990’s Dan Farmer was an independent developer who created SATAN which stands for System Administrator’s Tool for Analyzing Networks. Through buzz and word of mouth, SATAN became a popular tool which eventually led Farmer to form the company Elemental Inc. In an interview with Business Week Farmer says the following about the success of SATAN.

I’m a really huge believer in marketing and messaging. Part of SATAN’s reason for success was its name: System Administrator’s Tool for Analyzing Networks. That acronym propelled it to a lot of places where it wouldn’t have gotten much visibility. I think the power of names, the power of messages, the power of how people perceive things is really crucial. The technology by itself, if no one knows about it and no one uses it, is pretty useless.

Trying to be free from 9 to 5

Monday, April 25th, 2005

A software engineer named Eric has decided that doing software development for a big company in California isn’t what he wants anymore. He has started to chronicle his attempt to become free from 9 to 5 by developing a software application. He’s quickly realized that finding freedom has meant giving up the freedom he may have had previously. The best and most powerful software marketing tactic

Tuesday, April 19th, 2005

Jean tells us The best and most powerful software marketing tactic.

It appears that the Mac-centric blog,, has just come online but there are already several great posts for all software developers.

Sun partnering with ISVs

Thursday, April 14th, 2005

Sun Microsystems is boosting partnership opportunities by investing in ISVs and helping them with marketing and revenue generation. Sun is also encouraging innovation is by making the source code to OS 10 freely available to developers.

Sun drives successful ISVs though partnership

Success from Adversity

Tuesday, April 12th, 2005

We are very proud of what we’ve accomplished, being that it came out of desperation.

Sarah Lacy of Business Week profiles Mike and Bettina Jetter, founders of mind-mapping software company, Mindjet, that is now a $20 million per year business. What makes this story remarkable is that Mike started writing the software while he was in the hospital receiving treatment for leukemia with only a 50% chance to live. After two relapses, Mike is now recovering and the software business has over 500,000 customers worldwide. This truly is an exceptional microISV success story.

Pricing from a customer’s point of view

Sunday, April 10th, 2005

In response to the pricing and licensing changes to one of the shareware apps he was using, Zaine Ridling writes:

One-trick utilities should never cost more than $20-40 per version.

I certainly respect Zaine’s opinion as a customer but this is quite possibly the most absurd thing I’ve heard in quite a while. There is nothing more powerful than a customer being able to choose where to spend his or her money, but any business owner is free to price their product any way they choose. The market will eventually determine the fairness of the pricing model.

Zaine also states:

I support developers who want to make a living from their work, but there are very few one-trick-utility apps that one could do that with…

I’m sorry Zaine, but I think you’re just trying to justify your point of view and that you don’t really care if the developer can support themselves from their work. This is also a very uninformed statement to make, as can be seen by simply reading the microISV Profiles.

And finally…

Most often developers build a variety of supporting, or different apps to make money rather than overcharge for their only app.

Ignoring the fact that you make a sweeping generalization that is not true, you propose a business model that is simply not maintainable by most shareware companies. Doing what you suggest would be doing even more of an injustice to the customer because the developer will not be able to provide adequate support due to time constraints, all the while making even less money because you want things so cheap.

Last year Six Apart showed us that communication is the key to deal with problems and to turn a negative into a positive. The best thing to do is to get the message you want out there immediately to set the tone from the very beginning. If you’re wrong, your customers will let you know and you can adjust accordingly. Most customers will respect that you’re willing to listen and adapt as necessary.

by way of Jason Calacanis

The birth of a new app

Wednesday, April 6th, 2005

Giles Turnbull documents how a simple request on the 43 Folders mailing list for a software app led to a quick solution by part time programmer Sam Devore.

Demo tips

Monday, April 4th, 2005

Robert Scoble points to tips from David Hornik, a venture capitalist who attended the recent DEMO conference, about the do’s and dont’s of presenting at DEMO. The participants who are invited to demo their software are given 6 minutes to present to a room filled with venture capitalists and journalists. Even if you never aspire to present to an auditorium filled with people with lots of money who are looking for places to spend it, Robert points out that David’s tips are good for getting your software noticed by early adopters who could give your software an early boost.

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