State of the Me - Quick Hits

It has been a while since I have given a progress report of where things stand for me professionally. Back when I worked for Intel, I was mandated to give monthly status report. I am feeling nostalgic today.

Here is  quick bulleted list.

  • I am still consulting, but, unless I am told otherwise, my current work is ending fairly soon here (maybe in the next couple of weeks).
  • I told you about a month ago that I figured out the product I was going to develop to start my micro-isv. My progress on that front has been limited. However, I am fleshing out a new idea that would make that product a subset of this new, what becomes an overarching, idea. I won't say much now other than say I am looking for a couple of partners and it includes, but goes beyond, software development into the world of internet media and other information dissemination mediums.
  • I am exploring the options for a webhost. I believe I have narrowed my choice down to 1, but I have an outstanding question to their sales department before I can say for sure. The hard part was to choose to go with a Linux based host over Windows because Windows is what I know.
  • When I choose my new webhost, I believe I am going to move this blog from its current home (Wordpress.com) to the new webhost via Wordpress.org. The reason for this is two fold - (1) Consolidation of all blogs and websites at one place (2) A learning experience about Wordpress.org and the migration process. I have never self-hosted a blog before.
  • I have gone totally Mac. Well, that is a little disingenuous, I suppose. I am running Mac OS X Leopard as my primarily operating system and running Windows Vista via VMWare Fusion (primarily because my current consulting gig requires it). This configuration is just awesome!! I love it!!! I am beginning to love Mac OS X as much as Windows. Also, I just bought a 20" Apple Cinema Display on Ebay that I expect to get today or tomorrow.
I will provide more detailed posts on any of these bullet items as warranted.

Finally! I Know the Product I Am Going To Develop

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So, a while ago, I put a list of ideas out into the wild that I was choosing between as my first micro-ISV project. I haven't really made progress on those ideas because I have been busy doing consulting work and I haven't always been convinced that the ideas were all that good.

But now, I have finally broken through. I have what will be my first micro-ISV product. And I am very excited. I am not going to let the cat out of the bag this time. What I will say that is primarily a desktop application, has some competition and sprouted from a need that I personally have had for a long time.

I have started the design specification. I have most of my development tools in order. I am ready to go!

I am still doing some consulting work, but that may be winding down soon. Thus I will be able to concentrate on this full time. I am thinking a beta within 6 months, maybe sooner depending on what else is going on. We'll see.

Whether this succeeds or fails, it is great to finally know that I can be excited about something and put some passion into it. The worst that is going to happen with this product is that I will learn something and I will be able to market my software development skills again. Woo Hoo!

And, to boot, I have some other ideas to follow this first idea. So I am building a nice little queue.

Until next time....

P.S. I have a name for my company, almost have a logo developed and have someone to develop my web site.

Reconsidering My Micro-ISV Ideas

image It has been a 1.5 months since I posted my ideas to start my Micro-ISV. After moving across the country, continuing on my consulting efforts, and some personal research and reflection, I am reconsidering whether I should move forward with any of these ideas.

With respect to the RSS Reader, I do believe I have an interesting idea that would "uniquify" the product; but, I also am beginning to believe it might be better to just contribute that idea to something like Dare and company's RSS Bandit rather than go with a full-fledged development project.

I was most jazzed about the Fantasy Football web site, but that excitement has fizzled lately -- maybe because the football season is almost over; maybe because of the reality of differentiation; I am not 100% sure, but my initial glee about the prospect is not there anymore.

The "Bag-O-Tools" idea is still on the table.

I am now doing a re-analysis of the direction I want to go with my company (i.e. do I need a "born-again" moment?) To give you a glimpse into my mind, here is my current thinking:

My Company = Consulting Company?

My consulting effort has been going really well, with real money and possible future prospects. I have been complemented for my good work. So, do I become a consultant/contractor instead of a Micro-ISV? But, the phrase "possible future prospects" can be a bit unnerving -- the well can dry up at anytime and without notice. So a backup plan is a must. Also, the possibility of constant travel may prove a bit prohibitive depending on how things go with my family.

Do I Want a Partner(s)?

I waiver on this quite a bit. On the one hand, it is very intriguing to know that I could control *all* aspects of my business. On the other hand, I know what a lonely road that could be. I don't necessarily mind giving up some control for the chance to share in the production of something successful -- in fact, running the business aspect of the business (vs. the technical aspect) intrigues me quite a bit. Also, I am still 100% convinced that the right partner, in general, is better than going solo -- if, for nothing else, to keep motivation high and have a listening ear for the business.

What Is My Niche?

This is the hardest hurdle to get over, obviously, for any successful Micro-ISV. But, this is arguably the most important hurdle. My initial ideas do not carve a specific niche, per se. I knew that going in, but now I am thinking that maybe I should try to carve a niche to complement my initial business goals. What product(s) could I develop that uniquely solves a problem for a certain group of people. On the other hand, it could very well be my niche is in the consulting business. It could very well be my niche is in technical editing, or managing a project or an effort. I am not ready to say what it is yet.

So as my current consulting effort ends (sometime before April 1st), I really need to do a lot of soul searching to figure out what comes next for me. I do hope I at least have the opportunity to make a decision to make about another enjoyable consulting or contracting after this one ends.