Эрик Синк о "малом софтверном бизнесе"

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Eric Sink on the Business of Software

Написанная прекрасным английским языком и чрезвычайно интересная книга Эрика Синка, красочно описывающая все стороны "малого софтверного бизнеса", несомненно, скоро будет переведена и издана на русском языке.

Книга доступна на сайте Эрика Синка  в виде набора эссе здесь.

 

Ниже представлено содержание и приведены цитаты из книги Эрика Синка, по которым Вы сможете судить будет ли эта книга интересной именно для Вас.

Последние две главы "Closing the Gap" переведены на русский и опубликованы в книге Джоэла Спольски "Лучшие примеры разработки ПО" (перевод с английского книги "The Best Software Writing I: Selected and Introduced by Joel Spolsky").

Кстати говоря, Эрик Синк ещё в 1994 году был основным разработчиком того, что впоследствии стало называться Internet Explorer.
Об этом можно почитать здесь - http://www.ericsink.com/Browser_Wars.html

 

Eric Sink
ERIC SINK ON THE BUSINESS OF SOFTWARE
Apress 2006, 301 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-59059-623-4

Эрик Синк
Бизнес для программистов. Как начать свое дело

Питер 2008.
ISBN 978-5-91180-811-2
 

 

Content

ISV is a shortcut for "Independent Software Vendor".
Micro-ISV is a small software company.

FOREWORD
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
INTRODUCTION
 

ENTREPRENEURSHIP
1 WHAT IS A SMALL ISV?
2 WHINING BY A BARREL OF ROCKS
3 STARTING YOUR OWN COMPANY
4 FINANCE FOR GEEKS
5 EXPLORING MICRO-ISVS
6 FIRST REPORT FROM MY MICRO-ISV
7 MAKE MORE MISTAKES
 

PEOPLE
8 SMALL ISVS: YOU NEED DEVELOPERS, NOT PROGRAMMERS
9  GEEKS RULE AND MBAS DROOL
10 HAZARDS OF HIRING
11 GREAT HACKER != GREAT HIRE
12 MY COMMENTS ON “HITTING THE HIGH NOTES”
13 CAREER CALCULUS
 

MARKETING
14 FINDING A PRODUCT IDEA FOR YOUR MICRO-ISV
15 MARKETING IS NOT A POST-PROCESSING STEP
16 CHOOSE YOUR COMPETITION
17 ACT YOUR AGE
18 GEEK GAUNTLETS
19 BE CAREFUL WHERE YOU BUILD
20 THE GAME IS AFOOT
21 GOING TO A TRADE SHOW
22 MAGAZINE ADVERTISING GUIDE FOR SMALL ISVS
 

SALES
TENETS OF TRANSPARENCY
PRODUCT PRICING PRIMER
CLOSING THE GAP, PART 1
CLOSING THE GAP, PART 2

EPILOGUE JUST DO IT

 

Citations

An ISV creates, markets, and sells software products.
...
If you don't have a software product, you are not an ISV.
...

Small ISV are often very boring and very profitable. ... I believe small ISVs are where the opportunities are today.

 

We have tools and technologies that would have seemed like science fiction ten years ago.

 

...we tend to believe that the product will either sell or won't. But markets don't work that way. We ask ourselves, "Will people buy this product?" Instead, we should be asking, "How many people will buy this product?" The difference is pretty important.

I claim that every well-constructed product will be purchased by someone. The only question is how many people will but it every year.

 

On Jan 7th, 1997, I resigned and decided to go into business for myself. I just wanted to be self-employed.

 

... but I do want to emphasize the importance of this issue and offer three guidelines that serve me well:
1. Shut up and listen. Good communication is more like 80% listening and 20% talking.
2. e-mail – read your message before you hit Send. Look for typos and for ways that your e-mail might be misunderstood.
3. Never write an e-mail message when you are upset.

 

Although you may not believe it right now, ideas are essentially worthless. ... But like it or not, your idea alone is not valuable. ... Real value comes from good execution. ... The reason is that value is generated only in the presence of a risk/reward ratio.

 

The concept is simple:
1. In your first 40 hours per week, build custom software or Web sites for other companies. Charge them enough money to pay your expenses.
2. In your other 40 hours per week, work on building your product.
After the product is released and its revenues start to grow...

The more money you took from other people, the more profit you have to make.

 

In any software company, it is important to find a way to keep your 1.0 cycle as short as possible. ... Most companies err on the side of putting too much into the 1.0 release. ... The purpose of 1.0 is to help pay for the development of 2.0, and so on.

 

My regular readers have seen it before, but I will once again cite my favorite quote from Thomas J. Watson, Sr., founder of IBM:

Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It's quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn't at all. You can be discouraged by failure – or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember that's where you will find a success.

I believe strongly that the only true failure is not to try.
There is no substitute for actually doing something.

 

In his excellent article, "Shareware Amateurs vs. Shareware Professionals", Steve Pavlina says that persistence is critical to success as a micro-ISV:

You would be absolutely amazed at how many of the greatest shareware hits experienced dismal sales after their initial release... something even no sales at all in the entire first year. But the developers turned them into hits by continuously improving those critical success factors over a period of years.

On this point, I agree with him 100%. People give up too easily.

Persistence is not a sufficient condition for success, but it is a necessary one. We must patiently work through our disappointments and keep moving forward.

 

Circa 1998, betting on Java for a GUI application was suicidal.
I adored the concept of a cross-platform C-like language with garbage collection. We were hoping to build our Java expertise and make this exciting new technology our speciality.
But Java turned out to be a terrible frustration. The ScrollPane widget did a lousy job of scrolling. Printing support routinedly crashed. The memory usage was unbelievably high.
I should have gotten over my religious devotion to semicolons and done this app in Visual Basic.
Lesson learned: Be careful about using bleeding-edge technologies.

 

A person can be really smart and also be a really bad fit for the challenges of a small company. Context is critical.

 

One of the things I've learned is that a small ISV should not have any programmers.
For the purpose of this article, a programmer is someone who does nothing but code new features and (if you're lucky) fix bugs. They don't write specs. They don't even read code.
Instead of programmers, what you need are developers (people who will contribute in multiple ways to make the product successful).
There are far too many other things to be done, all of which are critical to having a successful product.

 

Watching TV is a waste of time. Coding is not.

 

So Joel is right: Creative technical genius (the ability to hit the high notes) is a critical ingredient when building insanely great products. But it's not the only one.
Great developers don't just make the product better – they make everything around them better.

 

I find it interesting that although marketing people and technical people often think they have nothing in common, both groups naturally try to weasel out of doing their first phase. Maverick programmers don't want to write specs and do design.

 

Never forget that your idea is worthless without you. There are probably nine other people on the planet who are thinking about the same idea right now. The only question is which one of you is actually going to make it happen.

 

The lesson here is that "new" ideas aren't as valuable as people think. Most of the time, when you find a market with no players, it's not really a market. Money is made by beating competition, not by avoiding it. If you want to start a new business, don't look for an idea that has never been tried. Instead look for someone who is serving real customers but not doing it very well. Find a way to do it better.

 

C# is probably the most perfect example of second-mover advantage that I have ever seen. Microsoft is always very careful when talking about C#. It doesn't want people thinking of C# as a clone of Java. But the truth is obvious: C# is Java done right.

 

When people buying software from your ISV, they are expecting a lot from you, both now and in the future:
They trust that your product will work on their machines.
They trust that you will help them if they have problems.
They trust that you will continue to improve the product.
They trust that you will provide them with a reasonable and fairly priced way of getting those improved versions.
They trust that you are not going out of business anytime soon.
So, by asking customers to pay for your software, you are asking a lot.
Transparency is an ISV’s way of trusting your customers.

 

No software product is perfect. All products have problems. The only question is whether the vendor is fixing them.

 

As a software product matures over the years, it tends to gain sales guys and lose developers. For a product that is nearing its twilight, it is not uncommon to see a company with lots of sales guys and no developers at all. The reason for this is reasonably intuitive: The product is no longer moving toward the customer.

 

Improve your product. Moving your product toward the customer is a lot easier. Listen to your customers and give them what they want. Keep your customers happy.

 


More Eric

Everything Borland ever created is now owned by someone who will destroy it.

http://www.ericsink.com/entries/late_to_twitter.html

Apr 19, 2010. Two Weeks with an iPad.

http://www.ericsink.com/entries/two_weeks_with_an_ipad.html

 

 
 

Eric Sink - On the Business of Software

This page was first published on January 15, 2008. 


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