Micro-ISVs usually face a dilemma after having released their first program: how can I start selling it? Traditional project management books like The Art of Project Management are extremely useful – but leave the reader in the rain when it comes to selling and distributing stuff, as they are targeted at developers working for an institution. Rocky Smolin’s book wants to be completely different, leaving the project management stuff out – can it stack up?
The first chapter of the book looks at psychological aspects – who are you, why do you want to be an entrepreneur and most importantly, what you need to do in order to become successful. It ends with an interview with an expert who was huge in home computer times, but left the business since.
Rocky then moves on to various tasks that should ideally be done before starting to code – think specifications and elementary market research. This chapter’s interview is with the developer of a program for jewelry designers, and gives valuable insight into low-tech audiences!
Next up is a look at UI design. Programmers are prone to making many mistakes in their first apps. Even though the book can not replace dedicated UI stuff, it definitely provides a god starting point for further studies.
The final chapters look at pricing, legal stuff and minor issues which can hinder a product’s success. The Appendix contains a full software licensing contract which can be reused on your own programs…
Like most other APress books, From Program to Product is well-written and easy to understand. I had no problems understanding the tome, even though I am not a native speaker. Paper quality was decent, too – scribbling notes into the book is possible.
In the end, Rocky Smolin’s book didn’t tell me anything new which I didn’t know from my few year’s worth of industry experience (and economics training paid for by the Austrian government). On the other hand: people currently preparing their shareware product, will benefit a huge lot and should get the tome ASAP IMHO. The price of less than 20$ is more than acceptable.