Phil Wright : Component Factory

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

microISV, The vision thing

With any new business you're supposed to create a business plan. I can see the point if you're going to start a new mobile phone company. You're investing a few hundred million and I can see your investors wanting to see a bit of documentation before going ahead. But for a microISV I really don't see the point.

The big advantage of being a one man outfit is speed. You can change direction in an instant and react to events on the moment. I'm not trying to convince a bank manager or outside investor to stump up some cash so I am not bothering with the business plan. Far more important is to have the vision thing.

Every successful software project I have worked on always has one person that has the big vision and it is always a techie. They have a vision inside their head of how the product is going to work. Not just in the look and feel but also the design and structure of the resulting code. Every developer gains confidence from this and you end up working as team and all moving in the same direction. The net result is a good chance of success.

As it happens I already have the vision of where I want the company to be and the kind of products it will be producing. Just as important I can visualise the first two product ideas very clearly, both in terms of how they will look and also the overall design.

Now we need to turn the vision into some concrete goals. After all, the reason most people never achieve their goals in life is simple. They never actually set any. So lets define the overall goals for the company itself...

Goal 1: Achieve first sale
Goal 2: Annualised sales equal to day job salary
Goal 3: Annualised sales twice day job salary
Goal 4: Net revenue twice day job, quit day job!

The whole point of the microISV is to earn enough to quit the day job and work full time for myself. I have no idea how long it will take to achieve this and so see no point in putting target dates against the goals.

From now on I am focused just on the first goal, working towards the first sale.


  • I can check off Goal #1. The other goals are certainly reasonable. I hope to attain the other three within two years.
    - Brandon Doyle

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:18 pm  

  • Well done on the first sale. It must feels good knowing someone has stumped up for something that started only as an idea in your head!

    Do you recommend VMware over VirtualPC? I have put off using VirtualPC/WMware just because I have to spend ages installing each OS in turn to get my base systems.

    By Blogger Phil Wright, at 6:25 pm  

  • Thanks Phil!

    I have had marginal exposure to VMware. I haven't tried VirtualPC. VMware works well for me; it is on the pricey side. I have yet to learn all the tricks of VMware but it is an amazing piece of software.
    - Brandon Doyle

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:38 am  

  • I've used both VMWare and Virtual PC. I find virtual PC a little better but for both systems I use more or less the same technique.

    Use the emulator of your choice to install one base system then make an archive copy of the virtual harddisk on DVD. I generally use XP pro, 98 and Windows 2000 pro for testing.

    Once you have a copyable OS running you can install beta versions of Visual Studio or try out things that will mess up the OS with impunity.

    I've found that not using an emulator is a lot more expensive in lost time than using one ever was.

    By Anonymous Bob Powell, at 10:26 am  

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