May 2009

Micro ISV: From Idea to Commercial Product – Jarrod Hollingworth (Backslash)

Have you ever developed a small tool because you couldn’t find an existing application that suited your needs? Do you have an idea for an application that you think would be successful? Turning a tool or idea into a commercial product can be rewarding and profitable. You can do it alone, with little cost, if you’re prepared to learn a few new skills and master a few new tools.

Jarrod’s presentation covered the entire life-cycle of a commercial product from idea to sales and support, using Jarrod’s latest product idea, created from scratch, as a case study.

If you are thinking of or in the process of bringing a product to market then here are a few of Jarrod’s tips:

  1. Have a clear plan. List all of the main tasks that need to be done (use the presentation materials as a guide).
  2. Set a realistic deadline. Estimate the time required, factor in the number of hours you have available per week to focus on the product and plan a completion date. Be conservative.
  3. Release early. Cut features for version 1 to deliver only those that are core to the product. Then see what interest, feedback and sales you get.
  4. Don’t expect sales in the short term. It can take 6+ months to start seeing steady sales. Market it without spending too much up front with Google Adwords, BitsDuJour deal of the day site, find some bloggers related to your app and ask if they’d like to post about your product (offering them a free license to try it out fully), and announce in relevant forums (provided such announcements are acceptable).