This is a copy of a post that I have just published on the popular “The Business of Software” forums. Please leave your comments below.Dear all,
I’m taking part in the 30 day challenge to design, release and publish a commercial application within 30 days. I currently have 20-ish days remaining on this challenge and am at the point where I’m looking for some beta testers to join my existing team in order to give the features a run through prior to release.
Software Monitor (www.software-monitor.com) allows application publishers to monitor the use and error reports (also: version checking & automatic updates, licensing (serial key checks, subscription management), run “customer experience improvement programs” etc) of a desktop application, online. The technology for this service I already use and is restricted to a tight data set for only this purpose. I’ll be providing a “DIY API” with source code as well as a set of easily integratable components and an .exe command line component for those of you prefering a more asynchronous hands-off “postable” interface.
The basic technology is proven with several thousand installations with only a small percentage reporting firewall difficulties. I started this with two customers already in place who had seen my own home-rolled system that I already use and I’m looking to expand upon the existing technology and make it publically available to other software developers and publishers. As well as two customers, I have sponsorship from Infragistics (the UI presentation layer people) which I’m going to need since my graphical design skills are lacking.
Note: There is a free no-cost no-strings-attached subscription plan available that I believe will suit most entry-level Micro-ISV’s looking for a solution to these problems. I am hopeful that the Micro-ISV community will judge the service as a useful one and upgrade their accounts. On this basis, please check back at www.software-monitor.com in July and see if the service meets your needs.
What am I looking for?
* BETA TESTERS *
All beta testers who wish to take up a subscription to this service will receive a generous discount on the membership fee as well as priority support from yours truely. If successful, I will be looking to recruit a salaried developer to continue development on this project and it would make sense that this person would be already familiar with the project from the start. There are limited places for the initial beta testing and not everybody will be able to sign up to start with (sorry!). However the service will be public in July so feel free to sign up then.
* ASP.NET/CSS web designer *
I’m also looking for an ASP.NET / CSS web designer. As above, if there proves to be a demand for this service outside of the niche I already occupy then I wish to move quickly on re-designing the website. I know what I want the site to look like but my skills only get me 75% of the way there. Anyone who can temporarily assist me for free will get kudos, however I’m ultimately looking to pay a contract designer to do this. But I don’t know any that specialise in ASP.NET and would like a recommendation.
Are you an ASP.NET/CSS web designer, or do you know of one you can recommend to me?
* POTENTIAL INTEGRATORS *
I’m looking for forward thinking eCommerce vendors and software licensing suppliers who would like to integrate with this service. No obligation required, just please let me know if this is something you are interested in and we’ll take it from there.
* FINAL NOTE *
This is a serious post and I am taking the “30 day challenge” very seriously. This is not a social experiment, but a determined effort to release a product which meets the needs of commercial software publishers. The product will be launching in July with as many modules fully tested as possible. I am on track for this. In the event that these modules are not completely ready and tested, the beta period will be extended appropriately and there is no obligation on the part of the “30 day challenge” to ensure a release at this time if it is not prudent for the benefit of our customers.
I am immensely busy as I have several businesses to work on and have a lot of constraints on my time this week, so please leave your comments on this blog post. I will read the “Business of Software” forum as often as I am able (which isn’t often!).