Clusters of Customer Needs

November 17th, 2014

clusters-of-software-customer-needs“Our needs usually come in clusters, not in bits and pieces. The best organizations organize themselves to satisfy clusters of customer needs.”

So says James H. Donnelly, Jr. in his book “Close to the Customer – 25 Management Tips from the Other Side of the Counter.”

Don’t define your company in terms of your current application, Donnelly tells us. And stop selling your products and services in the way that is most comfortable for you.

Instead, look at your business from your customers’ perspective. And design your company around your customers.

– by Al Harberg, the Software Marketing Blog guy


November 2014 ASPects: Responsive Design, Millenials and Software Sales

November 1st, 2014
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, Editor, ASPects

In the November 2014 ASPects, there are articles about responsive design, selling to millenials, and more ways of selling your software than you’ve ever though of. It’s time for the ASP’s annual meeting. This issue of ASPects is exclusively for members of the Association of Software Professionals.

November 2014 ASPectsContents, November 2014 ASPects

Go Online for the Annual Meeting
by Jerry Stern
First, a reminder, from last month’s official notice of the Annual Membership Meeting:…
…The Annual Membership Meeting of the Association of Software Professionals will begin with a discussion period on Monday November 24, 2014…
(page 1)

Director Nominees’ Statements for 2015

Ed Pulliam (page 1)
Howard Sobel (page 3)

Trade Show Calendar
(page 2)

I’ve Tried Everything to Sell My Software

by Al Harberg
Most software developers believe that they’ve tried every sales method available to increase their sales. Truth is, few microISVs have tried more than a couple of ways to sell more software.
Here is a checklist of the ways that you might explore to make your profits soar… (page 4)

Everything Old is New Again: New Responsive Design Choices
by Jerry Stern
Responsive behavior for web sites isn’t just about the width of the screen There’s much more, and if your target audience tends towards mobile devices, you should be allowing them to surf your site while they’re using their favorite devices. Starting next year, mobile device surfing the web will outnumber desktops and notebooks–design your mobile view first, and then decide how to enhance the content for larger screens… (page 5)

Book Review: Marketing to Millennials
by Jeff Fromm and Christie Garton
by Al Harberg
Millennials spend about $200 billion annually in the US. In addition, the authors argue that Millennials influence another $500 billion in spending because of their impact on their older family members, friends, and colleagues. Fromm and Garton believe that Millennials exert a lot more power and influence on society than any other demographic group… (page 6)

ASP Member News
Digital River Announces Agreement to be Acquired by Investor Group Led by Siris Capital Group (page 8)

News & Press Corner
Embarcadero Technologies makes it easy to develop
Apps for Internet of Things Wearables (page 8)

ASPects Newsletter

Some Tips for Writing Blog Postings

October 22nd, 2014
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When Hank Nuwer wrote the book “How to Write like an Expert about Anything – Bring Factual Accuracy and the Voice of Authority to Your Writing” in 1995, I doubt that he was thinking about helping microISVs with their blog postings. But his ideas can help you craft better, more effective blog write-ups. And that can generate more search engine traffic and more software sales.

Good articles feature good writing, not gimmicks or sensationalism. Don’t overwrite, Nuwer tells us. You don’t need to embellish your writing, or try to make it fancy.

It takes time to develop your style, and to learn to write in an effective, relaxed way. Be patient.

Nuwer recommends that you not work too hard on your writing. If you turn it into work, you’ll lose the fun of writing.

As somebody who writes a lot, I can tell you that it really is fun. If you’re not having fun with your writing, you need to write more, not less. Writing becomes easier – and more enjoyable – with practice.

– by Al Harberg, the Software Marketing Blog guy

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Management by Crisis Hurts Software Sales

October 10th, 2014
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management-by-crisis-hurts-software-salesIn his book “The Time Trap,” Alec Mackenzie tells us that managing our businesses by crisis is the number one way that entrepreneurs and business managers waste time.

If you have a real crisis, Mackenzie tells us, then fix it. But if you spend your time fighting fires one after another, then change the way you manage your work and your time.

Contingency planning is one way to anticipate crises and avoid them.

Before you jump in to solve a crisis, Mackenzie urges, ask yourself what would happen if you did nothing.

Learning to manage your business is one of the best tools available to save time over the long haul. And that principle applies to small independent software vendor (microISV) firms, too.

– by Al Harberg, the Software Marketing Blog guy

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October 2014 ASPects: Enchanted Objects & The Internet of Things

September 30th, 2014
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, Editor, ASPects

In the October 2014 ASPects, we have time management for app and software developers, the Internet of Things, and a WordPress security update. And it’s time for the ASP’s annual election of directors as well. This issue of ASPects is exclusively for members of the Association of Software Professionals.

October 2014 ASPectsContents, October 2014 ASPects


Call for Action
by Howard Sobel
It’s time for the ASP membership to find Directors and Officers. We need (4) Directors who can work well together in a group who are committed to solving some difficult problems… (page 1)

Call for Nominees
This is an official notice of the Annual Membership Meeting, as required by section 3.12 of the bylaws. The Annual Membership Meeting of the Association of Software Professionals will begin with a discussion period on Monday November 24, 2014, at 12:01 AM Eastern US Time… (page 1)

Trade Show Calendar
(page 2)

Directors’ Duties
by Dennis Reinhardt
The scope of an ASP director’s duties are developed to show what a director does and what a director accomplishes… (page 3)

Five Productivity Tips for Part-time Business Owners with Day Jobs
by Gianfranco Berardi
The biggest problem you face as an aspiring entrepreneur with a day job is a lack of time. I once estimated that if you took 24 hours and subtracted the hours you sleep, commute to and from the day job, work at the day job, eat meals, and perform routine hygiene tasks, you would be left with only four hours a day… (page 4)

WordPress Security Update, 2014
by Jerry Stern
WordPress 4.0 is out; if you haven’t updated your sites, get going and do it now. The new features improve security and media handling, and are worthwhile… (page 6)

Book Review: Enchanted Objects
Design, Human Desire, and the Internet of Things by David Rose
by Al Harberg
Too many software developers believe that desktop and laptop software are today’s news, and that software as a service (SaaS), cloud computing, and smartphone apps are the next major technology hot buttons. Truth is, SaaS, the cloud, iOS, and Android are all mature markets. The next big trend on the horizon is the Internet of Things. And it’s time for software developers to begin thinking about how they’ll be profiting from this new movement… (page 8 )

ASP Member News
Avangate Makes PerfectTablePlan Less Taxing (page 9)
PhotoToMesh V5 released by Ransen Software (page 9)
Data Recovery and Forensic Just Got Easier (page 10)

News & Press Corner
Google to Refund Consumers at Least $19 Million for Children’s Unauthorized In-App Charges (page 10)

ASPects Newsletter

ASPects for September 2014: SSL for SEO, Selling to Women

September 1st, 2014
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, Editor, ASPects

Google is counting SSL towards SEO, and Dennis Reinhardt writes about how to set up SSL on your websites in the September ASPects, available exclusively to members of the Association of Software Professionals. Al Harberg has written about Selling to Women, and why you should, or shouldn’t, Talk About Yourself on your website.

September 2014 ASPectsContents, September 2014 ASPects

Moving into the New Library and myBB
by Jerry Stern
All the current content from our Members-Only site has been copied over to the Library, including all 290 issues of ASPects, including 3,804 pages of software-industry articles and history, plus legal guides, the ASP’s Secretary’s Desk sections, financial reports, and more. And more will be added; the Library is the new home for all our references for both member resources and organizational documents.
Join us here: (page 1)

Trade Show Calendar
(page 2)

Setting up an SSL Site: Why SSL … and Why Not
by Dennis Reinhardt
In early August, Google posted that they would start using HTTPS as a ranking signal…. So, SSL is a broad industry trend and increasingly could become a checkoff item, something expected in a serious site the same way that code signing is standard for downloads… (page 3)

Talking About Yourself
by Al Harberg
There aren’t a lot of good reasons to talk about yourself on your website. Your prospects don’t care nearly as much about you as they care about themselves. Instead of writing about yourself, use that space to tell prospects about your applications’ most important benefits.
You have three basic choices for delivering your sales message: You can write about your prospects, you can write about other people, or you can write about yourself… (page 6)

Selling Software to Women

by Al Harberg
Women make 80 percent of all purchasing decisions. It would be a mistake not to understand the differences between the ways that women and men buy consumer and business products like software… (page 7)

ASP Member News

Avangate Honored as Part of the International Business Awards Program (page 9)

News & Press Corner
FTC Staff Report on Mobile Shopping Apps Found Disclosures to Consumers Are Lacking (page 9)

ASPects Newsletter , , , , ,

Is Your Software Good for Society?

August 15th, 2014
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software-that-is-good-for-societyAccording to a recent Pew Research survey, the number of Internet users has grown from 14 percent in 1995, to 46 percent in 2000, to 66 percent in 2005, to 79 percent in 2010, to 87 percent in 2014.

Ninety percent of the people in the survey said that the Internet has been good for them personally. Only 76 percent of the people surveyed believe that the Internet has been good for society.

Software developers need to think a lot about the 24 percent of adult Americans who believe that the Internet has not been good for society. You need to ensure that the bad feelings that nearly one quarter of your prospects have about the web do not become bad feelings about your software.

Privacy and identity theft

A major component of people believing that the Internet has been bad for society is their concern about privacy and identity theft. They don’t want their children posting personal information on social media. They don’t want to give their credit card information to organizations located in countries that don’t have strong banking systems. If you’re offering a Facebook add-in, an application that processes credit card payments, or any software that might put private information at risk, you need to ensure that you’ve made the software as safe as possible. And your sales presentation has to make it clear that your program is safe to use.

Kids and the Internet

Anther major concern that people have about the Internet is the ability that kids have to gain access to material that is not age appropriate. If you’re offering photography, video, music, search, or any type of software that could raise concerns about kids gaining access to content that is not appropriate for them, then you need to ensure that you’ve included the proper parental management controls in your application. And you need to say so on your home page and product pages.

Nearly one quarter of adult Americans have concerns about the Internet. You need to make sure that your prospects are not worried about your software. Identify any potential problems that reasonable people might have about your software. Minimize these concerns as much as possible. And explain to prospects and customers what you’ve done.

– by Al Harberg, the Software Marketing Blog guy


August 2014 ASPects Online Now in the Library

August 1st, 2014
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, Editor, ASPects

The August ASPects is in the new ASP library now, in our new ASP forums, which are responsive, mobile-enabled, and SSL-secured. Al Harberg has written about gaining incremental sales and benefiting from competition. Gianfranco Berardi has a book review, of Tracy Fullerton’s Game Design Workshop. These articles are available exclusively for the members of the Association of Software Professionals.

ASPects, August 2014
August 2014, Volume 27, No. 8, Issue #289 (282 Kb)

Introducing the ASP’s Library
by Jerry Stern
Our new myBB discussion forum, at has a new forum section, ‘Library’, which will hold all of our online reference materials, historical information, and reference guides. Direct links now work from our forums to the Library. (page 1)

Trade Show Calendar
(page 2)

ASP News
MSDN Free Books Event, 2014 ASP Financial Report Online
(page 3)

The Joys of Competition
by Al Harberg
Before the Internet, a well-capitalized company with a well-known brand name could keep most tiny start-ups from becoming competitive threats. Today, however, small independent software vendors (microISVs) can compete effectively with the largest software developers. Here are some ideas about dealing with your software competitors…. (page 3)

Book Review: Game Design Workshop
by Gianfranco Berardi
Tracy Fullerton teaches game design with a “playcentric approach”. What is a playcentric approach? She describes it as an iterative design process with player experience goals. Her
book, Game Design Workshop, 3rd Edition, teaches the reader how games work, demonstrates how to design a new game through prototypes and playtesting, and finally explains how the game designer role fits into the larger industry…. (page 5)

Moving the Sales Needle
by Al Harberg
To succeed in business, all you need is a steady series of small, incremental changes to your products and services… (page 6)

ASP Member News
Bits & Coffee releases BatchPhoto 4.0
FlashPeak Inc, announces Slimjet Browser
DataNumer’s Outlook Repair v. 5.1 (page 8 )

News & Press Corner
Department of Justice Provides Update on GameOver Zeus and Cryptolocker Disruption (page 8 )

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Plans, Luck, Accidents, and Software Sales

July 14th, 2014
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“In creative endeavors, luck is a skill.”

So says Twyla Tharp, the dancer, choreographer, businesswoman, and author of the 2003 book “The Creative Habit – Learn it and use it for life.” She devotes a chapter of her book to recognizing accidents and mistakes, and turning them into creative successes.

It’s good to have a plan, Tharp insists. But it’s a mistake to over-plan. Learn to plan ahead, and to recognize great stuff when you discover it.

Tharp believes that you have to have a plan. But following it too closely will stifle creativity.

Some people deny that luck is a factor in their creativity because they want to take credit for all of their accomplishments.

Sometimes plans fail to achieve their desired results, for a number of reasons:

  • Other people get in the way of our plan.
  • Our plan isn’t perfect. Many people can’t get started until they have a perfect plan, and a perfect series of the precise steps to follow. Sometimes we just have to get started, even if we’re not perfectly prepared. Sometimes it’s a blessing to have very limited resources such as too little time or too little money.
  • The format of our plan is bad. Sometimes we fail because we’re trying to fit a new idea into an old pattern.
  • We have misplaced obligations. We’re under pressure to please somebody with bad ideas. Or we have to conform to the wishes of the person who’s in charge.
  • We have the wrong resources. We simply haven’t equipped ourselves with the tools that we need to carry out the plan. Sometimes, having too little time to accomplish something motivates us to run and get the job done.

This chapter has three exercises that are designed to increase our creativity. Tharp asks us to pick a fight with ourselves. Choose a presumption that we’ve been depending upon for the success of a project, and reject it. Dismiss it. Do the opposite. And derive ideas from the tension and conflict that you create.

In another exercise, Tharp tells us to get lucky by being generous to other people. In my opinion, that’s the fundamental principle of success in business – being generous to other people and forming lasting, mutually-helpful relationships with others in the industry.

In a third exercise, Tharp urges us to work with the best people available. Again, this is a great insight from an accomplished artist.

It’s hard to use a short blog posting to summarize an entire chapter in a book about creativity. I’d recommend that you add “The Creative Habit” to your bookshelf. Twyla Tharp is a creative person who can explain how each of us can become more creative. The book will help your microISV business and your software sales.

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ASPects July 2014, New Member Forums for the ASP

July 1st, 2014
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, Editor, ASPects

The July ASPects is online now. The ASP has announced completely new forums, with responsive mobile support and SSL everywhere. Al Harberg has written about how to use forums, and I’ve written about Enterprise software in the age of apps and BYOD, all available exclusively for the members of the Association of Software Professionals.

ASPects, July 2014
July 2014, Volume 27, No. 7, Issue #288 (291 Kb)

ASP has New Forums, with SSL & Mobile Access
by Dennis Reinhardt
The ASP has now transitioned our discussion forums to a unified environment built on top of MyBB…
The URL is: (page 1)

Trade Show Calendar
(page 2)

Ten Tips for Maximizing Your Benefits from ASP’s Forums
by Al Harberg
In the past 16 years, I’ve read thousands of messages in ASP’s discussion groups…
Here are some tips that will help you maximize the benefits that you can enjoy from participating in ASP’s discussion groups
(page 4)

ASP News
All NNTP and vBulletin discussions are READ-ONLY
Co-Administrator of MyBB Forums announced (page 5)

Enterprise Software, Requirements, and Payoffs
by Jerry Stern
Business software has changed, and continues to evolve…
Now, Enterprise software refers to products that can be centrally-managed, for purchases, installation, management, and document control. If you can sell to this market, expect to have steady renewals & upgrade income, or annual contracts sold by seat count.(page 6)

ASP Member News
Windows Font Manager Offers Powerful New Functions (page 6)
Stretch Break for Kids (page 6)

News & Press Corner:
FTC Launches Contest at DEF CON 22 to Help Track Down Perpetrators of Illegal Robocalls (page 8 )
AVG Study Reveals Small Businesses are Positive about Future Opportunities with the Internet of Things (page 8 )

ASPects Newsletter