In mid 2004 the term 'microISV' started to be used to refer to a one-person software company.
The attention that Eric Sink was getting with his column on MSDN popularized the term. (see http://www.qwikpage.com/microisv/WhatIsAMicroISV.htm
Brian Plexico then launched microISV.com as a discussion forum and many people were ferring to the microISV movement in their blogs and articles.
In November, I launched my own microISV business and created as website called microISVReality at qwikpage.com.In general, my purpose for the site was to serve as a resource for other startup microISVs; articles, information, links, collaboration, advice and a place for others to promote their new business.
Traffic grew quite quickly for three reasons;
1. my SEO was focussed on 3 key words - microISV software entrepreneur (I quickly became 3rd ranked in Google behine Eric Sinks site and microISV.com)
2. press releases
3. mentioned and linked in discussion forums
The specific purpose of the site was (and still is) a bit unclear.
In January, I sent out an email to some key people in the microISV community to determine if there was any interest in organizing our actibities to build momentum.
My suggestions included;
- make microISV.com the accepted, promoted and centralized discussion forum for microISVs (the rest of us would remove our forums and redirect there)
- form a membership or association of microISVs
- offer some means for startups to solicit advice for experienced entrepreneurs
- organize articles written for the benefit of microISVs
- periodic NetMeetings
- eventually a small conference or seminars to meet face-to-face
The almost unanimous response was that the microISV entity is sufficiently different than a shareware professional and that the mature organization of the Association of Sharware Professionals already provides most of these services. Any time spent organizing microISVs would be wasted effort.
I'm well aware that in many cases microISVs use the shareware distribution model but I don't agree that all microISVs are shareware authors.Being a microISV refers to the organizational structure of the business while being a shareware professional refers to a distribution model. Granted, there is a large intersection between the two groups. However, I believe that a microISV association could establish an identify of its own to the benefit of its members.
I'm not willing to single-handledly take on this cause though.
The other almost unanimouse response from the recipients of my email was that we are all quite busy and this isn't something we have time for.
This I agree with. So I've decided to take my email list and discussion forum down and link from my site to microISV.com for discussions.
My site, http://www.qwikpage.com/
, will focus on providing organized, high-quality articles relevant to startup entrepreneurs.
I will also provide a directory of microISVs for their own promotion.
I will not continue my previous attempt to put together a group fo 15 start-up microISV and 5 mentors. The advice I heard is that this can be done on the Association for Sharware Professionals site.
Making these changes actually reduces some of my distractions from my core business - which is developing RoadRaceResults.com - a running portal site.
And that's a GOOD THING.
As an old German proverbs says,
"The main thing is keeping the main thing, the main thing."
In the past 3 months I continually read that a startup entrepreneur must seek advice from experts and gather feedback from users as often as possible. This input needs to be used to influence strategic and quality improvements in the next iteration.
The email I sent out was a great exercise in asking pointed questions, and getting feedback to set direction. I'm confident that I saved myself alot of wasted effort simply by asking questions.
When I launch my products and web sites, I will make an effort to continually seek user feedback to help determine my next steps.