Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Haystack’s 5 Indie Software Business Lessons

Stefan Reitshamer:

I used to worry that once I got a number of customers, supporting them would take up too much time for me to move the ball forward on new releases and new products. The only strategy I had to counteract this was to ship products that are as simple as possible and as bug-free as possible. It seems to have worked so far. As a side benefit, I found out that people much prefer super-simple products that don’t have bugs.

I pretty much agree except for his comments on not tracking enhancement requests. I would say that you don’t have to worry too much about tracking priorities, as it’s usually clear what people want most. However, even for the obvious items, it’s nice to have a place to stash notes on how I plan to implement the feature and what the important trade-offs are. Secondly, I believe that there’s a long tail of second-tier features and details that only a small number of people request but that add up to a substantially better product. As a user, I often find that the important differences between two apps are not ones that would have appeared on the list of major features.

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I actually exaggerated a little bit. I do have a text file with every request I've received, and I do review it from time to time. But the prioritization is definitely based on the frequency of more recent requests.

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