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!


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 for details)

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Recovering from a Bad Brand Name

March 6th, 2013

Developing a BrandIf you find that the name that you’ve chosen is hurting you in the marketplace, Jack Trout explains, then fix the problem. Trout talks about getting around a bad name in his book “The New Positioning – The Latest on the World’s #1 Business Strategy.”

Two suggestions that Trout makes for fixing a bad name are:

  • Revert back to another name that you’d used in the past, or
  • Consider sub-branding.

By sub-branding, Trout means that you could use your tag line instead of your product name (or company name) as your brand.

Trout believes that the name that you choose is very important. If you don’t have a good company or product name, then get one.

On a personal note, I chose DP Directory, Inc. as my software marketing and press release company’s name back in the mid-1980s. At that time, DP (data processing) was the popular phrase for what is called today “information technology (IT)”.

When I re-launched my website a couple of years ago, I started putting a lot more emphasis on “Al Harberg” and a lot less emphasis on “DP Directory.” I’ve coined a couple of tag lines such as “Al Harberg, the Software Marketing Blog guy” and “Al Harberg, the Software Marketing Glossary guy.” As Trout recommends, more and more I’ll be using my tag lines as my brand.

Big companies are doing this, too. For example, you can visit Procter & Gamble’s Bounty Towels website – – or you can use their tag line – Quicker Picker Upper – – to get to the same website.

Don’t live with a bad product or company name. Change it. It’s good software marketing.

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March 2013 ASPects: mISV Productivity, Social Media Marketing

March 1st, 2013
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The March ASPects is available now, for ASP members. This month’s articles cover productivity, social media marketing, and writing skills for mISVs

Welcome, Educational Software Cooperative Members!
by Gianfranco Berardi
Members of the Educational Software Cooperative, a non-profit trade association dedicated to the educational software ecosystem, recently voted at a special meeting to dissolve the organization. As part of the decision, they also voted to provide all ESC members with one-year memberships in the ASP… (page 1)

How Important Is the ASP to You?
by Gianfranco Berardi
When you became an ASP member, you joined for 52 weeks worth of access to the discussion groups with like-minded business owners, developers, and publishers. You signed up for12 months worth of access to ASPects, exclusive discounts and offerings, and a number of other benefits, all of which are available to you for less than $2 per week. But do you get the most out of your membership? (page 1)

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

Increasing Your Personal Productivity as a mISV

by Jiri Novotny

If you run a business, there is a direct correlation between your productivity and the success of your business. I define productivity as creating valuable output, which grows your business. And since “valuable output” is always a subjective thing, the value is ultimately decided by your customers. Your effort is either valuable to them and they give you money, or it is not–and they won’t… (page 4)

Book Review: The Social Media Marketing Book
by Gianfranco Berardi
While I am on Twitter (@GBGames), Facebook, and Google+, and use these accounts regularly, I could stand to figure out how to better leverage these services to grow an audience and sell more. I find that no matter how well versed you might be with a particular tool, it’s entirely possible you are muddling through using some aspect of it. You could always learn about better and more effective ways to use it. So when I saw The Social Media Marketing Book by Dan Zarrella on a bookshelf, I picked it up. (page 6)

Writers: Know Your Audience
by Al Harberg

“Write as though you were addressing someone whose opinion you value,” said Patricia T. O’Conner in her book Words Fail Me – What Everyone Who Writes Should Know About Writing. O’Conner urges writers to know the people whom we want to read their sales presentation. Identify your audience. Determine the correct vocabulary, tone, sentence structure, and imagery that you’ll need to use to communicate effectively with your audience. Learn their level of sophistication, their likes and dislikes, and their demographic and psychographic attributes. (page 7)

ISVCon 2013: Call for Speakers

(page 9)

PAD 4 Frequently-Asked Questions, Part II

(page 10)

News & Press Corner

HS Launches National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (page 11)

ASP Member News

Why Rent a Cloud Server When You Can Own One? (page 11)

Healthy Computing with Stretch Break Ergonomic Software (page 11)

ASPects Newsletter, Uncategorized

Tablet Computer Ownership

February 25th, 2013
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computer-tablets-and-educationTwenty-five percent of adult Americans own a tablet computer. Ownership percentages, however, vary greatly based on the level of education of the individual.

So says the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life study, as reported in the November 2, 2012 issue of Processor Magazine.

The study’s tablet ownership results are divided into four education groups –

  •  7 percent of people who didn’t graduate from high school own a tablet
  • 18 percent of high school graduates own a tablet
  • 27 percent of adults who attended college own a tablet
  • 41 percent of college graduates own one

On a personal note, I think tablet ownership will increase in the coming years. Lots. As Android tablets become more popular, and as Windows 8 tablets gain market share, the competition will drive prices down. And as overall tablet sales increase, manufacturing prices will go down, and market penetration will go up.

Conversations with my customers lead me to believe that the software development tools available to tablet developers are not nearly as powerful or sophisticated as the tools that they’ve used in the Windows environment. If you’re thinking about developing tablet (and smartphone) apps, you might want to start climbing the learning curve earlier rather than later.

    – by Al Harberg, the Software Marketing Blog guy

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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.)


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.


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.


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,


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.


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.


For more information about the conference, please visit
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the ISVCon Speakers Manager:

Rich Holler
Email: rich @

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February 2013 ASPects Online

February 1st, 2013
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The February ASPects is available for ASP members today. There’s submission help for PAD 4.0, tips on creating web pages that adjust to the browser size for tablets and smart phones, marketing help, and more.

ASPects, February 2013ASPects, February 2013
You Look Like Volunteer Material

by Gianfranco Berardi
Hello, ASP Member! As someone who probably wants to make a name for yourself, you might be wondering, “Self, how can I make a splash in my industry?”
The answer is contribution (page 1)

Last Chance to Save: ISVCon 2013 Early Bird Registration Ends February 28
by Gianfranco Berardi
Don’t wait too long to register for ISVCon 2013.
After February 28, the Early Bird discount on registration ends, and you’ll miss out on potentially hundreds in savings. ISVCon 2013 will run from September 27 – 29 in Reno, Nevada at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa. Register now at … (page 1)

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

ASP News
2013 Chair, officers, 2013 Budget Resolution, 4th Qtr Report (page 3)

The Most Common and Frequent Errors Identified by the AppVisor PAD Review Team
by Joel Diamond
After nearly 750 PAD files submitted under the PAD v4.0 Specification, we have created a list of the errors found most often. PAD 4.0 files can be created, or upgraded from older versions, online only, at… (page 4)

Frequently Asked Questions: PAD Certification
What is the PAD Repository?… (page 4)

Categorizing your Software
by Al Harberg
Software buyers sort applications by category. And positioning is all about the location of your product in prospects’ minds. As you start to design your next application, consider how you want prospective buyers to think about your new program. By designing your application with your market positioning in mind, you’ll have a much easier time selling your new product to your target audience… (page 7)

Responsive Web Design
by Jan Prichystal
As the technology progresses, it brings not only more opportunities, but also new issues that needs to be dealt with. Just a few years ago, you could be almost sure your users would be accessing your web site from their desktops. Not anymore. Smartphones and tablet computers have become more accessible to the public than ever. Tablet computer sales doubled in 2012 and the trend will most likely continue in the upcoming years. That takes us from browsers-related issues to a new one: our websites must be ready to be viewed on different devices with different resolutions and aspect ratios. Responsive web design takes this into account and introduces solutions for these problems… (page 8 )

Design a Game With Me, Part 3: Play It And Tell Me What You Think
by Gianfranco Berardi
In the previous two articles, we took a standard deck of cards and created a casual game that eventually evolved to accommodate two players. Of course, games are meant to be played by others, and it is hard to know how other people will receive your game until you actually put it in front of them. It is only through play-testing that you can hope to fully understand how the game will be received.
Is it easy to understand the rules, or are they incomplete, vague, and convoluted?.. (page 10)

ASP Member News
AceReader Elite: Intuitive, Feature-Rich Speed Reading Software (page 12)
TaskMerlin: Automated Gantt Charts for a Complete Project Management Solution(page 12)
SnappyFax: Full-featured Fax Server Software for Windows (page 12)

ASPects Newsletter, Uncategorized

Romantics and Visionaries

January 9th, 2013
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romantics“A romantic is a visionary without common sense.”

So say John L. Stanton and Richard J. George, the authors of “Success Leaves Clues – A Marketer’s Guide to Winning Strategy.”

“Leadership is an activity,” the authors explain, “not a position.”

A leader needs a vision. But leaders can’t be romantics.

Leaders take risks. But they’re not reckless.

    – by Al Harberg, the Software Marketing Blog guy

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January 2013 ASPects

January 2nd, 2013
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The January issue of ASPects is available now to our members. This month, Gianfranco Berardi continues his series on game design. Al Harberg discusses how financial controls work for microISVs, and Jiri Novotny suggests using eBooks as a sales tool. Over 25 years of ASPects issues are available in the back-issue archives for members of the Association of Software Professionals.

Cover, January 2013 ASPectsHappy New Year! Looking Forward to 2013
by Gianfranco Berardi
2012 passed us by and the world hasn’t ended. Onward to 2013!
The end of one year and the beginning of a new one is always a good time to take a momentto think about our progress… (page 1)

ISVCon News: 2012 Videos, 2013 Early Bird Savings
by Gianfranco Berardi
Last year’s ISVCon, the new Software Industry Conference (SIC), was well-received, and this year’s conference is looking to be even better. Once again held in Reno, Nevada, the Biggest Little City in the World, ISVCon 2013 will run from September 27 – 29, and registration is open now at… (page 1)

Trade Show Calendar
ISVCon, September 26-29, 2013 (page 2)

ASP News
Annual Meeting Voting Results (page 3)

PAD 4 Frequently-Asked Questions, Part I
What does PAD stand for?
Why do authors need PAD?
Why should vendors and webmasters support PAD?  (page 4)

mISVs and E-books: Are You Missing Enormous Opportunities?
by Jiri Novotny
I think that e-books are the perfect digital goods. In fact, I think that selling e-books is better than selling software… (page 5)

Marketing Budgets and Financial Controls
by Al Harberg
Of all the financial controls that software developers use to regulate their microISV companies, the most abused one is the marketing budget.
Too many lazy marketers create their marketing budget first, and then create their marketing goals and objectives second–if at all. So says Mark Stevens, the author of the book Your Marketing Sucks. And while Stevens wasn’t specifically talking about independent software developers, we see this problem quite a bit in the software development industry.. (page 7)

Design a Game With ME, Part 2: Double the Players, Double the Fun?
by Gianfranco Berardi
Last time, we walked through the initial design steps of a new card game. Up until now it has been a single-player game, but I mentioned that the design evolved to accommodate two players. This article will explore that evolution… (page 8 )

ASP Member News
High-Logic B.V.’s MainType Wins 2012 Epsilon Award for Software Excellence (page 10)

News and Press Corner
European Software Conference: Venice in November (page 10)
FTC Strengthens Kids’ Privacy, COPPA Rule Updates (page 11)
Embarcadero Rolls Out New Multi-Device C++ Developer Platform (page 11)
INTERPOL and NEC Sign Partnership Agreement To Enhance Cyber Security (page 11)

ASPects Newsletter, Uncategorized

ASP Member High-Logic B.V. Wins 2012 Epsilon Award for MainType

December 14th, 2012
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High-Logic B.V.’s MainType was named the winner of the 2012 Epsilon Award at the 12th annual European Software Conference. Each year, The Epsilon Award recognizes the best software application from the European software and microISV community. ASP is a Supporting Sponsor of the European Software Conference.

MainType takes the frustration out of managing your Windows fonts. Using drag and drop, MainType lets you find, preview, organize, install, and print your fonts. Unlike simple font preview applications, MainType is designed for graphic artists, typographers, and other power users who demand high-end functionality such as network support, plug-ins, advanced categorizing and searching capabilities, and fast searches for the fonts that they need.

The new database structure allows MainType to start processing fonts immediately, and results in substantially improved processing speed, even on systems with tens of thousands of fonts. The database design makes it simple to back up and restore your font library. Network support allows access to fonts that are stored on a network drive.

MainType 5 runs under Windows 8/7/Vista/XP/2003/2000, and costs $39(US) for a single-user license of the Standard Edition and $79 for the Professional Edition. For more information, contact High-Logic B.V., Tuinstraat 60, 3732 VM De Bilt, The Netherlands.

The Epsilon Award’s second-place winner was Cosmin Unguru’s BatchPhoto. Cosmin is also a member of the ASP.

The 13th annual European Software Conference will be held November 2nd and 3rd, 2013 in Venice, Italy. Additional information about the Epsilon Award, and about the European Software Conference, can be found on

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Demographics and Software Sales

December 6th, 2012
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Kenneth Gronbach believes that Detroit’s economic woes are caused by the car manufacturers not paying attention to the demographics of buying cars.

Gronbach is the author of the 2008 book “The Age Curve – How to Profit from the Coming Demographic Storm.” The book looks at the marketplace from the perspective of demographics. And it provides some great insights that can help us in the software development industry.

Forty-three-year-old men buy cars. Well, men aged 33 to 53 are the heaviest buyers of vehicles. Generation X (the 69.5 million Americans born between 1965 and 1984) can’t buy cars at the same level as Baby Boomers (the 78.2 million Americans born between 1945 and 1964) bought cars because there are nine million fewer people in Generation X.

Toyota, Gronbach tells us, figured it out. Instead of mainly targeting traditional buyers, Toyota has created cars that attract the much larger, much younger Gen Y buyers. Apparently, Toyota studied the types of used cars that young adults are buying today. And they built new cars that are attractive to these buyers.

Gronbach cites an ad campaign from Porsche 20-or-so years ago. Porsche of America encouraged people to buy used Porsches. Even though this didn’t make the company any money, the company depended on the sale of used Porsches to sell new ones. By making the market for used Porsches robust, it increased the trade-in value of these older vehicles. Many people traded in their old Porsches for new ones.

There might be a lesson here for software authors. Give your software to college students for free. And to high school students. And teachers. Plant the seeds today with users who don’t have the funds to buy your application. And when they graduate and enter the world of work, they’ll remember how great your software was, and buy it. And encourage all of their colleagues to buy it.

   – by Al Harberg, the Software Marketing Blog guy

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