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Issue 6.5


Book: Micro-ISV: From Vision to Reality

Issue: 6.5 (July/August 2008)
Author: Marc Zeedar
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 4,146
Starting Page Number: 9
Article Number: 6504
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Full text of article...

The topic of micro-ISVs (tiny one- to five-person independent software vendors) interests me since I've dabbled in the software business for years. Recently I've been wanting to take my software company more seriously and so I picked up a copy of Bob Walsh's Micro-ISV hoping it would help.

The results are mixed. While the book is well-researched and written, it is dated (written in 2005), which means many of the websites and technologies it points out have changed. Unfortunately, this is just the reality of the fast-moving tech world. For example, one section talks about Digital River and eSellerate as separate companies -- but of course Digital River now owns eSellerate so things are different. In other places the book points out exciting "new" products and services that have long since disappeared. Sometimes the book just feels dated and awkward, though there's nothing really wrong with the information. It's amazing what can change in just a few years!

But you don't necessarily read a book like this for web URLs and product information: a large part of the book is general information on marketing, running a software business, legal issues, handling technical support, and other important topics. There are also numerous interesting interviews with software developers and others in the industry.

In this regard, the book is excellent, but I will caution potential readers not to expect in-depth details. This book is a general overview. For example, the book discusses the various kinds of legal entities you can establish for your business, from sole proprietorship to LLC to incorporation, but none of these is discussed for more than a few pages; this is not a book of legal advice on how to create a company.

As a general introduction to the various kinds of issues a micro-ISV will face, the book is excellent. If you've contemplated forming your own micro-ISV but aren't sure exactly what that entails -- What will your life be like? How much money can you make? -- this book is just what you need. It will present many of the challenges of running a micro-ISV, including business management and accounting, handling software beta releases, marketing your products, and handling technical support for your customers. The answers and technologies the book provides may not be the most comprehensive or current, but it should give you a good idea of the lifestyle of a micro-ISV owner and help you decide if it's a good idea for you or not.

Another great thing about this book is encouragement: reading the success of other micro-ISVs is a terrific stimulant to get you excited about your own venture. If you've thought for years of going independent but haven't dared, this book might inspire you to take the plunge.

End of article.