Lessons from the masters - getting it right
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I've been working with software on the web since 1997, and have had the pleasure of experiencing the different ideas, strategies and personalities of more than three hundred software companies.During this time, I've witnessed an astonishing mix of products, features and marketing methods - some of which have worked better than others.
One of the questions that I am frequently asked involves the elusive Perfect Product. Developers want to know what their next software should be, what the market is looking for, what sells, and how they can get rich as fast as possible. The truth is, I have no idea. I can certainly spot a terrible product that's never going to make any money, but identifying the next big seller is a very different thing. As much as some may argue otherwise, there are no accurate, quantifiable characteristics of great software - and even if there were, there are a vast number of other factors that play an equally important role in the equation. Over time, I have come to realize that much of what makes a successful product comes from the people who develop and sell it. Rather than focusing on the traits of good software, it can often be far more beneficial to take a good, hard look at the characteristics of good software authors.
This article isn't a "To-do-list for the successful software company". If that sort of thing worked, you wouldn't be reading it for free right now - I'd be selling it and making a fortune! This is merely a collation of some of the more interesting patterns and trends that I have been able to observe over the years. All of the characters referred to are based on real software authors, but I've altered their names and mixed up their circumstances to the extent where they won't even be able to recognize themselves. Nevertheless, this is a great opportunity to learn from some of the masters of the shareware game - whether it be from their mistakes or their successes.
Reaching for the skies through your wallet - willingness to spend.
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