January 2015 ASPects: "Can't Buy Me Like" Review, Business Software Opportunity for microISVs

January 1st, 2015
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January 2015 ASPects

The new January 2015 ASPectsissue is available for download for ASP members. There’s a new book review by Al Harberg, news from the Internet of Things, and I’ve written about a microISV product opportunity in business software.

January 2015 ASPects

Book Review: Can’t Buy Me Like

by Al Harberg
“If you are still selling goods and services by blanketing the world with advertising, trying to persuade or entertain or flatter consumers into submission,” Bob Garfield and Doug Levy explain, “you are doing things all wrong. Because the world has changed. A lot.”
We’re now in the Relationship Era. The authors believe that the important qualities for every company to have are authenticity, trust, loyalty, and pride. Fifty years ago, The Beatles sang that money can’t buy you love. Today, consumers are swamped with ad campaigns and marketing slogans. If Lennon and McCartney were writing the song’s title today, they might have chosen “Money Can’t Buy You Like”… (page 1)

Trade Show Calendar
(page 2)

ASP News
ASP Annual Meeting Results: 2 Directors Approinted
(page 3)

Editorial: Software Opportunity for Business Apps
The Current State of the Software Business is… Ripe for New Competition
by Jerry Stern
Business managers are getting fed up with broken cloud patchwork monsters. Business owners are grumbling while they pay for software that no longer arrives on a disk, no longer can have a second install for non-simultaneous use on a notebook, is non-transferrable, and requires online registration and bundling with cloud storage. These new program versions stop working if they’re not renewed, and sometimes just when they feel like it. They’re not cloud–these are programs installed locally, with cloud features and requirements, but they’re clumsy implementations of programs that aren’t as good as the previous product that shipped on a disk… (page 4)

News & Press Corner
Developing the Internet of Things: Building Connected Apps for the Kwikset Deadbolt (page 6)
Salesforce Delivers AppExchange Store Builder, Create a Fully Customizable App Marketplace (page 7)
2015 International CES to Host Largest Ever “Internet of Things” Showcase (page 7)

ASPects Newsletter, Uncategorized

Selling Software Using Emotion and Imagination

December 16th, 2014
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Tahiti“Good writers make the reader’s imagination work for them.” So says Patricia T. O’Conner, the author of the book “Words Fail Me – What Everyone Who Writes Should Know About Writing.”

Most advertising experts tell us that effective sales copy is all about emotion. People make decisions based on emotion, and they use logic to justify their decisions.

O’Conner believes that if you use emotion, you can leave part of the “story” out, and the reader will fill in the missing pieces using their own experience.

This technique might be a good way for software developers to sell a home inventory application. Talk about how your software benefits people who are victims of burglary or fire, and your reader will relate at an emotional level.

Perhaps this technique is a good way for microISVs to sell educational software. Talk about how your software will help prepare the prospects’ children for school – and for life.

When crafting your sales presentation, weave emotional writing into the message. Get your prospects emotionally involved, and you’ll turn more of them into customers.

– 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, Uncategorized

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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The customer isn't always right

May 11th, 2014
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The customer isn’t always right.

So says Robert A. Lutz, the former President and Vice Chairman of Chrysler Corporation and the author of the book “Guts – The seven laws of business that made Chrysler the world’s hottest car company.”
One of Lutz’s Immutable Laws of Business says that the customer isn’t always right. In fact, Lutz says that nobody in his or her right mind could possibly believe that the customer is always right.

  • Customers don’t know what they want.
  • Customers lie.
  • Customers can’t predict the future.
  • Customers certainly don’t have the industry-changing ideas that companies need to succeed.

Since customers and prospects aren’t very good at pointing companies in the right direction, many firms decide to play it safe. They create products and services that are right for everybody.

Lutz believes that this approach is doomed.

Companies can make more money, Lutz tells us, if they create niche products and services that are enthusiastically embraced by prospects and customers. When you water down your product or service, and try to please everybody, you end up not pleasing too many people at all.

In today’s marketplace, people no longer have to settle for their second choice. Prospects simply won’t buy bland, one-size-fits-all products and services.

I don’t recommend your adopting Lutz’s strong anti-customer attitude. But all software developers should give serious thought to creating niche products and services. Alternatively, create software applications that target the mass market, but create separate niche marketing campaigns for each sub-market that you’re targeting.

– by Al Harberg, the Software Marketing Blog guy

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March 2014 ASPects Online Now, Business 'Why', Tech vs Arty, Game Design Book

March 1st, 2014
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, Editor, ASPects

The March ASPects is online, for members of the Association of Software Professionals. Al Harberg writes about how the markets have changed when it comes to choosing whether to create products for the general market versus vertical markets. Gianfranco Berardi will simplify every business decision you make. And he has reviewed Tynan Sylvester’s book, Designing Games.

ASPects, March 2014

ASPects, March 2014
“The ASP’s New Public Web Site is Live!”
by Jerry Stern
The new ASP web site is up & running, mobile-enabled & responsive, and open for business now… (page 1)

Trade Show Calendar
(page 2)

ASP News:
Howard Sobel is PR Chair, Creation of an Officer Search Committee (page 3)

“How to Simplify Every Business Decision You Make”
by Gianfranco Berardi
If you’re like me, you might have gone into business for yourself with complete ignorance about how to do so. I remember reading a few books on bootstrapping and entrepreneurship and finding that they had a few common concepts… (page 4)

“Book Review: Designing Games by Tynan Sylvester”
by Gianfranco Berardi
Many people have tried to create a comprehensive definition of games but have failed. Most definitions are either insufficient in that certain games are left out, or they are too broad and encompass too much that are not games. In Designing Games, Tynan Sylvester writes that games are “an artificial system for generating experiences…” (page 7)

“Vertical Marketing Success Stories”
by Al Harberg
The opinion of most microISVs is that developers can maximize their profits by creating and marketing software that reaches as wide a market as possible. Truth is, you might make more money if you create niche applications that target very specific vertical markets… (page 8 )

ASP Member News:
“Digital River Releases White Paper on Proven Online Merchandising and Promotion Strategies” (page 10)

News & Press Corner:
White House: Answering the President’s Call to Strengthen Our Patent System and Foster Innovation (page 10)
“Microsoft Enters into New Global Partnerships in Fight Against Cybercrime” (page 10)
“FTC, FBI Warn Consumers About ‘Cryptolocker,’ A New Breed of Computer Malware” (page 11)
“Microsoft OneDrive Launches Worldwide” (page 11)

ASPects Newsletter, Uncategorized

ISVCon 2013 Preview: Conversations to Create More Customers by Jessica Dewell

September 10th, 2013
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ISVCon 2013 is in a few short weeks. Have you registered yet at http://www.ISVCon.org?

Below is a preview of Jessica Dewell’s session on conversations to create more customers, just one of the presentations filled with actionable information for software business owners at ISVCon 2013 in Reno, Nevada from September 27 – 29.

The Art of Prospect Conversations…without Mechanization!

Want to sell more of your product? Feel puzzled as to how new media (blogging, social media, video, etc.) fits into the business work flow? Then make sure to snag a seat at this ISVCon presentation!

Internet marketing offers minimal barrier to entry due to the low cost and wide variety of tools available, making the task much easier. As a result, more companies are marketing and selling more stuff online than ever before.

While websites are still a key part of a digital strategy, how we use our websites and other available online mediums determines business growth opportunity.

Copying competitor strategies doesn’t cut it anymore, especially for digital products, whether download or SaaS (Software as a Service).

Your business plan is a starting point. Now, set it aside…think back to your reasons for starting a company, building and supporting your products, and the spark that started the creativity – such elements are the WHY. Once identified, those form the basis for creating a complete digital strategy with which to support that business plan.

Just as important is HOW you conduct business. An active digital strategy reflects the business and product you’ve developed and want to sell. Every detail regarding pre- and post-sales support structure, and online communications, differs from every other firm.

Yes, you need social media, and perhaps even a blog. Being online 24/7 is overkill, though – there is a time and place for automation of content sharing. Again, what sets you apart from the competition is what you do differently.

You can’t automate relationships. So unplug that algorithm and listen up. There’s an ART to authentic, sales-producing conversations, both online and off, that will create more customers.

Check out the full description at http://www.isvcon.org/sessions.php. See you there!

Announcements, Uncategorized

September 2013 ASPects is Available, Annual Public Issue

September 1st, 2013
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The September ASPects is our annual public issue this year; it’s available for everyone to download–click on the cover to download the PDF file. ASP members get ASPects every month. This time, Al Harberg has written about how business software isn’t like home software. I talk about doorslam apps for web sites. And there’s industry news, trade events, and developer opportunities, as always.

 ASPects, September 2013
ASPects, September 2013

Do You Know What It Takes to Succeed in the Software Business?
by Gianfranco Berardi

Are you thinking about starting your own software business? Are you worried about unanswered questions regarding the process of doing so? Are you concerned about the risk?
   Invest in your success, and join the Association of Software Professionals today….(page 1)

Trade Show Calendar
ISVCon, September 27-29, 2013 (page 2)

Publishers Reap Benefits from Global PAD v4 Repository
by Joel Diamond

The PAD Specification v4.0 is nearly 9 months old and the community of publishers as well as download sites, software catalogs and other PAD support channels are already reaping benefits… (page 3)

Flying through hyperspace ain’t like dustin’ crops
by Al Harberg

In today’s troubled economy, a lot of microISVs who sell consumer software are trying to add a business application or two to their product mix. As Han Solo explained to Luke Skywalker in the first Star Wars movie, piloting the Millennium Falcon to another galaxy is not like flying a crop duster on the family farm. Similarly, developing and marketing a business application is not like developing yet another program for home users. Software developers who understand the differences between the two marketing challenges can do a better job of generating income with their new marketing focus. Here are some insights about what you might encounter as you move into the business software arena… (page 4)

Top 10 Mistakes Made When Hiring Freelancers
by Jim Coutu

When hiring freelancers, mistakes can be made at almost any turn. As an arbitrator who specializes in freelance projects, I have arbitrated over a thousand failed projects. Many times I have seen cases where someone hiring a freelancer made easily-correctable mistakes that caused their project to fail. Here are the top ten mistakes made when hiring freelancers… (page 5)

Don’t Build a DoorSlam!
An App is Not a Web Site

by Jerry Stern

I’ve been seeing annoying apps this year.A lot of them. Really, I should install an app for Sheetz? Really? Hello, it’s a gas station with hot dogs, and road-side billboards that tell me to install their app. Why?

   Some online blogs are calling these sites and apps doorslams… (page 9)

How to Get an Ultimate Perspective on Your Business
by Jiri Novotny

The best way to quickly gain a tremendous perspective on your business is to create a visual model of it…. (page 11)

Own the Software Sales Process
by Al Harberg

Take charge of the sales process if you expect to close a sale. That advice comes from Joe Girard, the world’s greatest salesman according to The Guinness Book of World Records. Much of the advice in Girard’s book How to Close Every Sale can be translated from Girard’s experience with face-to-face automobile sales into the realm of selling software on the Internet…  (page 13)

ASP Member News
DataNumen: Powerful, Affordable RAR Repair Software (page 14)
Popular “Allmyapps” Windows App Store to be based on PAD® v4.0 (page 14)

News & Press Corner
Amazon Appstore Now Accepting HTML5 Web Apps (page 15)
Amazon Launches Mobile Associates API (page 15)
Moving forward  (Steve Ballmer of Microsoft retires) (page 16)

ASPects Newsletter, Uncategorized , , , ,

Buy Software from Yourself

August 10th, 2013
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How to Become a Marketing SuperstarJeffrey J. Fox wants you to be your own customer. He wants you to experience your own company’s interface with the public.

Fox is the author of the book “How to Become a Marketing Superstar – Unexpected Rules that Ring the Cash Register.”

For most software developers, the only area where this makes sense is to buy your software from time to time, to see how your eCommerce providers are doing. Find out if there are any delays. See if the “buy now” process is smooth.

It only costs a couple of dollars in eCommerce company commissions. And you may uncover problems that you didn’t know that you had.

    – by Al Harberg, the Software Marketing Blog guy

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August 2013 ASPects: WordPress Security, Marketing to Enterprise Customers

August 1st, 2013
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The ASPects for August is available to download for ASP members now. Al Harberg writes about selling in enterprise App stores. I tighten up WordPress security. And there’s industry news, trade events, and developer opportunities, as always.

ASPects, August 2013ASPects, August 2013

ISVCon News: New Speaker, Hotel Discount

Cutoff, Reno Events III, Videos & Registration
by Sue Pichotta
We’re excited to announce the addition of Mr. Ami Kassar, CEO of MultiFunding, to our speaker line-up. Mr. Kassar is a nationally-renowned leader in small business planning and lending, a frequent contributor to the New York Times Small Business blog, has been featured in a TedX Talk, and enjoys helping small businesses get ahead. Ami will be talking about financing for ISVs, with information on both traditional and non-traditional sources… (page 1)

Trade Show Calendar
ISVCon, September 27-29, 2013 (page 2)

ASP News
2nd Qtr Finacial Report posted. (page 3)
ISVCon Announces Seminar Topics (page 3)
September ASPects Will be Our Annual Public Issue (page 3)

Reducing the Attack Surface of WordPress
by Jerry Stern
WordPress is the most popular web authoring platform, and that means it’s the largest platform of opportunity for evil miscreant web-hacking dweebs. The recent mass-scale login attacks against WordPress sites are automated, and wormish–they infect a site, and use that site to infect more sites. There is no single fix; multiple approaches are needed, and if your site becomes a major target, it will go down from server load even if every hack fails.
   So, what can be done to reduce the problem? (page 4)

Maximizing Marketing Impact
by Al Harberg
Marketing is an investment, and not an expense. So says Jay Conrad Levinson in his book Guerrilla Marketing Excellence–The 50 Golden Rules for Small-Business Success.
   We shouldn’t try to market economically. It’s not about saving money. It’s about generating significantly more in profits than we spend on marketing, Levinson reminds us.With this in mind, Levinson has suggestions for saving money–suggestions that can help software developers deal with the difficult economy worldwide, and its effect on the software development industry. (page 6)

Selling Software to Enterprises
by Al Harberg
There’s a new marketing trend that will make it easier for microISVs to sell their software to corporations, nonprofits, and other enterprises. Or perhaps it will make it more difficult to close the sale. It’s too early to tell.
   The new trend is the enterprise app store… (page 8 )

ASP Member News
EzySoft Developments: Affordable Billing, Inventory, and Accounts Receivable Software (page 9)
Time Traveler, from Godot & Co (page 9)
Moonglow Software, Student Organizer v2. (page 10)
PopChar 6/Windows, from Ergonis Software (page 10)
Apparly, App Store (page 10)

News & Press Corner
McAfee Study of Mobile App Persmissions (page 11)
FTC on Advertisements vs. Search Results (page 11)
DISH Working with Mobile App Developers (page 12)
FTC Testifies to Congress on Patent “Hold-Up” (page 12)

ASPects Newsletter, Uncategorized