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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

ISVCon announces seminar information for 2013 software marketing conference

July 22nd, 2013
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isvcon-2013-independent-software-vendor-conferenceThe 2013 Independent Software Vendor Conference (ISVCon), scheduled for September 27-29, 2013 at the Atlantis Casino Resort in Reno, Nevada, has released information about the panel discussions and seminars that will be presented. Designed to deliver the latest marketing ideas to small software development firms, this year’s conference includes:

  • “Sell Software on Facebook” by Nico Westerdale of BitsDuJour – Can independent software vendors (ISVs) make money selling software on Facebook? Yes. More than half of the people in the US have Facebook accounts. Learn practical ways to build your fanbase, and create posts that generate traffic.
  • “Conversations to Create More Customers” by Jessica Dewell of Red Direction – Move more software customers through your company’s sales cycle by changing from reactive conversations (such as answering email inquiries) to proactive conversations (such as listening and starting conversations.)
  • “Growing your ISV business to Multi-Device with Mobile and Mac” by David Interstimone (David I) of Embarcadero – Discover how to increase software sales by supporting a mix of client devices, UI approaches, OS versions, and emerging form factors.
  • “Connected Apps: The New Normal” by Leyla Seka of Salesforce.com – Learn to build and deploy connected apps as your software development business evolves from the desktop/laptop world to the cloud and mobile environments.
  • “33 High Tech Business Myths, and How They Can Hurt Your Company” by Gary Elfring of Elfring Fonts Inc. – Gain insights into distinguishing between valid business ideas and the myths, folklore, and misinformation that can hurt your company.
  • “Google AdWords – Winning the War and Making It Work” by Aaron Weiner of Software Promotions – Learn how recent AdWords changes will impact your account’s performance, and how you can overcome any problems.

Other seminar titles include:

  • Practical Roadmap to High Performing Websites
  • Secondary Offer Networks
  • The Cloud for ISVs
  • Avoiding Problems When Hiring and Working with Freelancers

Visit http://www.isvcon.org/speakers.php to read about new seminars that will be added during the summer.

Sign up for the conference by September 22 to take advantage of ISVCon’s $820.50(US) registration fee. Registration includes three days of intense education and networking opportunities plus a Thursday evening reception, and break rooms full of snacks and helpful representatives from the conference’s sponsors.

Previously known as the Software Industry Conference (SIC), ISVCon carries on a 22 year tradition of supporting independent software developers’ business and marketing efforts with seminars, presentations, and networking opportunities.

ISVCon is owned and presented by The Association of Software Professionals. Sponsors for ISVCon 2013 include FastSpring, Avangate, Tightrope Interactive, Software Promotions, Greentram Software, and The Association of Software Professionals. Visit http://www.isvcon.org/ for more information about attending ISVCon 2013. Or visit http://www.isvcon.org/sponsors.php for information about sponsoring the conference.

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It's My Name – What's in a name?

June 8th, 2013

Hello everyone, my name is Steve Mekkelsen Madden, or Steven Michael Mekkelsen Madden if you want my full legal name.  🙂  So why am I being formal here of all places?  The answer is quite simple actually, I am creating this blog so that I can get all my fellow software engineers comments and opinions on a very real life software problem; the “name” fields and then make a decision to change the world, or at least a standard anyways.

As you can probably surmise, this subject has to do with changing some of our standards and ways we view/think about what we set name type fields to be in our software applications.  Are we using a 1970’s, a 21st Century standard or something in between them?  I’ve spent a considerable amount of time fighting with organizations to support our name in their business applications, only to be told, sorry Steve, we just don’t have enough spaces for your last name or we can’t put a space in a last name field.  This is just one sad story after another and it is now time that “we” set a new Global Software Standard for Names!

User Name Standards Proposal to Association of Software Professionals

Overview: When the computing era began to hit the retail markets and consumers back in the 1970’s, disk space was at a premium cost for each byte/character used.  As a result, some field names were set extremely short like AN (account name), or AcctN (account name).  There were also restrictions on the number of bytes allocated for the values of these fields and hence a name field could be as short as 15 characters for both the first and last names.

At the time, world travel was still in its infancy and our standards were not compromised.  When all the new airlines came in and started offering round trip flights to most parts of the world, this also led the U.S. into a new era of foreigners coming to the U.S. and staying either on VISA’s or as new citizens.  So what’s the issue you may ask?  Well first, let’s think about what our most common names were at the time.  We didn’t have many personal computers in the market place, so we didn’t have to worry about how long names were.  But even in the 1970’s, a name like Steve Madden, Tom Jones, Albert Einstein and Bill Cosby would fit in our 15 character values for whatever software may have been available at that time.  Unfortunately, other countries citizens names didn’t quite follow our standards because their culture included family names and some on both spouses families which makes for a very long name.

So flash forward to today where personal computers are in almost every household in the U.S. and abroad. Now the standard short 15 character name field becomes a serious limitation to the software.  Now let’s consider businesses and what services they have to offer for their customers.  There are fields like account_name, customer_name, legal_name, billing_name, mailing_name, etc.  There are many fields which attempt to cover what is needed for today’s marketplace.  Unfortunately, we still fall short even with the field names and values.  With “disk cost” being at its all time low, we still as software developers, restrict the amount of spaces to be used and what is worse, what the default validation on those field values impose.  Some software restrict the use of dashes “-” or spaces in a name field value.  Well, as you may or may not know, the name field values can contain spaces and dashes in them and are perfectly legal.  Did you know that you can go to a court in the U.S. and request a name change to virtually anything you want (within reason, and not to escape debts of any kind)?  The judge will speak with you during the name change process and approve or deny the request.  This is very common when citizens get married and want to include their name in some way or for other reasons.  If our software cannot accommodate these scenarios, then we have failed as software professionals.

An example is the use of my legal name “Steven Michael Mekkelsen Madden”  where “Steven” is my first name, “Michael” is my middle name and “Mekkelsen Madden” is my last name(s).  My maiden name (name prior to marriage or name change) is “Madden”.  When my wife and I married, I added her last name before my last name and she added my last name after hers resulting in SherriLee Mekkelsen Madden.  So that gives me 31 characters for my name and 26 for my wife’s.  Sounds simple right?  Not so!  We have issues with State and Local Government Offices, Healthcare Professionals (Insurance, Hospitals, Doctors and Specialists), Utility Companies like Telephone, Cable, Satellite, HVAC’s and as well as Department Stores and Banks who provide a credit/debit/store card of some kind where our names just does not fit.  Our youngest daughter also has two middle name “Violet Mary” so when she is asked to provide her middle initial she is not happy when the software only allows one middle initial.

That’s the overview behind this proposal to correct our series of name issues across all markets and once and for all provide an industry standard for “name” fields and values to support organizations and individuals on a Global Scale!  This link contains the content of this post “plus” two tables describing each field name, value and validation imposed.  Supporting this new standard may require programmatic changes to support increased field widths on a variety of displayed data and/or printed data on forms, pdf files, cards, etc.  I am looking for your comments, suggestions and your support.  If you support this and agree to make the changes in your software applications (or already do), please add them here and I will make sure they are also posted on my websites.

 

Announcements, Articles, Uncategorized

ISVCon, the Software Industry Conference, is now opening sponsor registration for the 2013 conference.

May 14th, 2013
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ISVCon2013 Logo (redesigned by Jerry Stern)

 

ISVCon, the Software Industry Conference,  is now opening sponsor registration for the 2013 conference.

Quick Links

About the ConferenceSponsorship OptionsBecome a Sponsor/Exhibitor

 

Location

ISVCon 2013 will once again be held at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno, Nevada.  The Atlantis, a 4-Star hotel, was recently awarded the prestigious 4-Diamond rating.  It has a beautiful, modern conference area, with a large, comfortable, and surprisingly quiet foyer overlooking the casino.  The property includes 9 restaurants and 10 lounges, and a cabaret with live entertainment.  It is also just a 10-minute ride from the Reno airport via the Atlantis’ free airport shuttle.

Reno is located in Northern Nevada, a wonderful area with lots to do both inside and outside of the casinos.  Reno is just 15 miles from the California border, and is a popular weekend vacation destination for Northern California residents.

 

New Dates, Days, and Options

ISVCon 2013 will be held September 27-29.  The conference will run for 2-1/2 days, Friday through mid-day Sunday.  We’re hoping to attract lots of new faces, given that Reno is within driving distance for San Francisco/Silicon Valley, and we are also planning to do considerable marketing.

 

Sponsorship Levels

Our existing Sponsorship levels, prices, and benefits received an update this year.  Our Silver Sponsorship is priced at $1299 and includes 2 free conference registrations;  our Gold Sponsorship is priced at $2599 and includes 4 free conference registrations and a free Sponsor Table; while our Platinum Sponsorship is priced at $4999 and includes 8 free conference registrations, and 2 free Sponsor Tables.  All sponsorships include many other benefits, please see our Sponsorship Options page for more information.

Also, we’ve added a new Sponsorship option this year!  Our new “MISV” sponsorship level was added by request, for those industry participants who don’t necessarily want to exhibit, but simply want to attend and show their support for the event.  This new sponsorship level is priced at just $599, and like our other sponsorship levels, it includes a variety of perks and benefits.  See our Sponsorship Options page for more information about this new sponsorship level.

 

Sponsor Tables Instead of Break Room Booths or Hospitality Suites

You may notice that instead of having “Break Room Booths” or “Hospitality Suites” we now offer the availability of Sponsor Tables.  These Sponsor Tables will be set up in the main foyer/break room area of the conference, which is located directly in the path of the session and lunch rooms… meaning that each and every conference attendee must pass through this area in order to get to any of the presentations, breakfasts, or lunches!  The break room is also where all the snacks and refreshments will be located, so the attendees will congregate there between events and sessions.  The Sponsor Table concept was added by request from previous sponsors, and will include tables and chairs rather than pre-defined “exhibit booth” style areas.  This area will be open for attendees during the entire conference schedule, and will also be part of the Welcome Reception and other special events during the conference.  Sponsor Table spaces are limited, and will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

Your Sponsorship

Your sponsorship of ISVCon will help support this long-standing industry conference, and give you an opportunity to meet with both experienced ISVs and start-ups in a new, exciting, and professional setting.  The sooner you sign up as a sponsor, the sooner your logo/ad box will be displayed on the ISVCon website for visitors to see.  Early sponsorship also helps support the conference financially, and is appreciated.  And, early sponsorship allows you to receive primary placement for your Sponsor Table areas, which have limited availability and will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

Please consider supporting ISVCon with your sponsorship.  To become an ISVCon sponsor, just follow the instructions at our Become a Sponsor page.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  I look forward to working with you.

 

Sincerely yours,

Rich Holler
Sponsor Manager, ISVCon
rich@isvcon.org
http://www.isvcon.org

 

P.S.  Attendee registration is ongoing, so signing up for sponsorship right away will insure that your company logo/ad will be displayed on the ISVCon website as more attendees come to register.

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ISVCon 2013 Early Bird Discount Extended!

March 8th, 2013
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Ok… we hear you!  September is a long way off to make plans.

So, we’ve extended the deadline for our Early Bird discount for ISVCon until the end of March!

So you still have the opportunity to save hundreds of dollars, with conference prices starting at just $295 for ASP members!

-Rich

PS: Also, don’t forget that the deadline for submitting your speaking proposals is coming up soon — please get your proposals submitted to us by March 12th (see http://www.isvcon.org/ISVCon2013-CallForSpeakers.pdf) for details)

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ISVCon 2013: Call for Speakers

February 20th, 2013
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ISVCon2013 CallForSpeakers

ISVCon is a non-profit conference for ISVs (Independent Software Vendors). It attracts software developers, publishers, and other professionals in the software industry, all sharing a common interest in software marketing, sales, development, distribution, and other related issues. ISVCon provides an environment of networking, education, and collaboration.

ISVCon 2013 will take place September 27-29 in Reno, Nevada at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa.
Please consider supporting the conference not only by attending and/or sponsoring, but also by sharing your knowledge and expertise with others. We invite you to submit your proposal to speak at the conference.

New this year – We will be offering free conference registration for speakers, which includes the conference-sponsored lunches! (Sorry, we are not able to provide any compensation for travel or accommodations.)

SUBJECTS

Speakers are needed on all subjects related to being an ISV. We are especially interested in topics with recent buzz, like mobile computing, cloud computing, software as a service, social networks, etc. Business and marketing related subjects are always popular too. In fact, any subject of interest to ISVs will be considered.

The ISVCon sessions will run in a single track, and will incorporate topics of interest for both start-ups and experienced ISVs.

LENGTH

Most sessions are an hour long, and individual presentations can run anywhere from 15 to 50 minutes, depending on whether you are going “solo” or will be on a panel with other speakers (remember that we leave time at the end of each session for audience questions). If you and a friend or two have an idea for a shared session, each speaker should submit a proposal for their talk, and note their preferred session partners.

PROPOSAL

Your speaking proposal should include the following details:

1. Speaker name
2. Company/Affiliation
3. Contact information
4. Subject of proposed presentation (and/or possible title)
5. Summary of proposed presentation
(please include enough detail to differentiate your presentation from any other proposed presentations on a similar subject)

As with the 2012 event, we will be video taping the sessions, and posting them on our website for viewing by attendees, newsletter subscribers, and ASP members.

Please email your ISVCon speaking proposal to Rich Holler, rich@isvcon.org

DEADLINES

The deadline for submitting your proposal is Tuesday, March 12th.
If your proposal is accepted, you will be notified via email by Friday, March 29th.

VENDORS

If you represent a company that sells products or services to ISVs, you are welcome to submit a proposal to speak in your area of expertise. However, we require that the majority of a presentation be of general interest, with any company- or product-specific information limited to only the last few minutes of the presentation.

MORE INFORMATION

For more information about the conference, please visit http://www.isvcon.org
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the ISVCon Speakers Manager:

Rich Holler
Email: rich @ isvcon.org

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ESWC Announces 2012 Software Conference and Epsilon Award

July 19th, 2012
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The 12th annual European Software Conference will be held at the Holiday Inn Munich City Centre on November 24 and 25, 2012 in Munich, Germany. The European Software Conference is the premiere event for the Independent Developer and the (Micro-) ISV-Industry. The conference blends web, mobile, and desktop into one world of software.

Panel discussions and presentations from software industry professionals will fill the two-day meeting. All of the presentations are in English.

ESWC 2012 will focus on topics that are vital to independent software developers. Seminar subjects include fighting software piracy, software market analysis, application stores and the desktop/laptop market, content management systems, email marketing, Google Adwords, website conversion optimization, developing a software brand, software advertising, development and marketing of smartphone products, software update strategies, and turning website visitors into buyers. Many well-known, successful software developers will share their experiences and advice on marketing and sales.

This year’s European Software Conference will feature the seventh Epsilon Award, an annual recognition of outstanding software for Windows, Mac, and Linux distributions, Chrome OS, and for all major web and mobile platforms. Nominations for the Epsilon Award will remain open until September 4, and voting for the nominated software products will remain open until October 27. Dieter Reiter, CEO of the DLED Munich and Governing Member of the City Council, will speak to conference attendees at the Epsilon Award ceremony.

This year’s Epsilon Award winner will be announced at the conference on November 24. Prizes include a winner`s certificate and trophy of honor, press coverage of their product by the professional Press service of DP Directory, and entry into the Hall of Fame which means free full access for the winner to future ESWCs. Prizes of recognition for the first ten nominees include a nominee certificate by the ESWC e.V.

The registration fee for the two day conference, including lunches, is 225 Euros, or 90 Euros without lunches. Additional information about the Epsilon Award, and about the European Software Conference, can be found on ESWC’s totally redesigned website on http://www.smbdev.eu or on Twitter on http://twitter.com/isvindustry

The conference is organized by the ESWC e.V., a not-for-profit foundation devoted to providing educational opportunities to software developers.

Conference sponsors include Avangate, Alwin Hoogerdijk, ASP, deal United, DP Directory, Globell, Questback, Software Promotions, Wibu, and Emurasoft. For more information about becoming a sponsor, visit http://www.smbdev.eu/sponsor.htm

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Time Is Ticking: Last Chance to Save on ISVCon and Hotel Rooms!

June 27th, 2012
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As a reminder, the discounted hotel room block is available until June 28, and you should register at ISVCon.org before July 1 to save on registration before the price bumps up.

Announcements, Uncategorized

ISVCon Registration and Hotel Deadlines Approaching

June 21st, 2012
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If you’re interested in learning about trends in your industry from expert speakers and fellow attendees, you’re going to ISVCon, the new Software Industry Conference (SIC).

Held from July 13-15, it’s all about software developers and vendors like you getting together for a few days to learn from each other, attend great sessions on topics such as social media marketing, Cloud-based technologies, and mobile platforms, among others, and enjoy yourself in Reno, Nevada, the Biggest Little City in the World.

If you haven’t registered yet, you have two reasons to avoid procrastinating and to act now.

First, the ISVCon discounted hotel room block means you’ll get to stay at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, which is where ISVCon is being held, for less. The deadline for getting a room in this block has been extended to June 28. Normally rooms have a $12/night resort fee, and the cost can be $99.99 for weekdays and up to $159.99 for weekends, but if you register in the room block before the deadline, you can get your rooms for $69 for weekdays and $99 for weekends, and the resort fee is waived!

Second, ISVCon registration prices go up on July 1. If you register today, you pay only $375 for the Weekend conference and $425 for the full conference. If you wait, those prices go up to $499 and $599. How many opportunities do you usually have to save between 25%-30% on something that could help you improve your business? And if you add in the savings with the ISVCon room block, you’re saving even more money.

So why wait? Register today at http://isvcon.org to save money to go to a conference where you’ll learn how to make more money, make new friends, and have fun!

Will we see you in Reno?

Announcements, Uncategorized

ISVCon Announces Seminar Info for July Software Conference

June 5th, 2012

The 2012 Independent Software Vendor Conference (ISVCon), scheduled for July 13 – 15, 2012 at the Atlantis Casino Resort in Reno, Nevada, has announced information about the panel discussions and seminars that will be presented. Designed to deliver the latest marketing ideas to small software development firms, this year’s conference includes:

  • Accelerating the Flywheel by Rob Walling of Software by Rob – Author, blogger, and software entrepreneur Rob Walling discusses advanced techniques for building your software business and selling more of your applications.
  • SaaS: Challenge or Huge Opportunity? by Michael Ni of Avangate – Responsible for eCommerce company Avangate’s marketing strategy and affiliate network, Michael Ni will provide guidance on how software authors can smooth the transition from desktop/laptop development to selling software as a service (SaaS).

  • The Mobile Age: Your Strategies by Tom Beidle of Digital River’s MyCommerce division – Tom Beidle will explore trends in mobile products, consumer usage patterns, and revenue models for mobile software products.

  • Making Money with Microsoft by Patrick Foley of Microsoft Azure – Patrick will discuss new trends from Microsoft, including Windows 8, mobile computing, and making money on the cloud.

  • New Trends in Online Help by Alexander Halser of EC Software – The Help+Manual guy will provide software developers with information about setting up content navigation, using images and videos efficiently, the emotional aspects of help files, and much more.

Twenty-one presentations and seminars have been scheduled for the conference, and more will be added in June. For a complete list, visit http://www.isvcon.org/sessions.php.

Sign up for the conference by June 30 to take advantage of ISVCon’s $425(US) registration fee. Registration includes three days of intense education and networking opportunities plus a Thursday evening reception, and break rooms full of snacks and helpful representatives from the conference’s sponsors.

Continental breakfasts and lunches are included in the registration fee, so developers can network with fellow industry members throughout the day. There will be additional networking opportunities on Saturday night, as well as discounted tickets to a dinner and show. You can even sign up for a post-conference meeting on Monday July 16th with fellow attendees, and continue to share business-building ideas and develop relationships with other software professionals.

Previously known as the Software Industry Conference (SIC), ISVCon carries on a 20+ year tradition of supporting independent software developers’ business and marketing efforts with seminars, presentations, and networking opportunities.

ISVCon is owned and run by The Association of Software Professionals. Sponsors for ISVCon 2012 include Microsoft, MyCommerce from Digital River, Avangate, FastSpring, the Association of Software Professionals, K Software, Emurasoft, and DAIR Computer Systems. Visit http://www.isvcon.org for more information about attending ISVCon 2012. Or visit http://www.isvcon.org/sponsors.php to learn about sponsoring the conference.

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