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In this post on BoS http://discuss.joelonsoftware.com/default.asp?biz.5.493397.4, someone asked if — starting a µISV — it is better to stand up a web-site by product, or to stand up a “company” web-site ? The poster also say that he will have a first product in 3-4 months, then 2 others products about 2 years later.

I’m really a new µISVer, but if you permit, I have ONE BIG advice : “Stay Focus”.

By not being “focus” on your application and its web-site — that is YOUR product — you will lost lot of energy by trying, too early in the process of building your µISV, to “reuse/optimize/manage” too much of stuff — If you are alone like myself.

When starting, I think it is more better to launch a firts version of ONE application, lets the world know about it (SEO), get feedback, and enhance THAT application. You will learn a lot from this first experience — I’m learning a LOT right now myself…

Of course, if you are not really a starter, but you already know how µISV business really work — and so you are not really a starter — that’s another story…

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Hi,

This little post just to inform you that news versions of the website, with a better look — I hope 😉 — are tested online for feedback.  Have a look at the change at www.listandchecklist.com.

I hope to fix the website rapidly, except maybe for a couple of graphics — the header and the boxshot — and to fully concentrate on the application.

SEO is not sensible at the look, so for now it would be ok…

I’ve also start to fill the µISV Kit page, and I say a little more about me in the… About me page.

You know, if you read this blog, that I’m in the process of building my µISV. The tool I’m working on since a couple of months, will be called ListAndChecklist.  I’ve search for a tool like the one I’m building since more than 2 years.  The only one which had retain my attention was the venerable old ECCO Pro, from NetManage.

What is ECCO Pro ? Ecco Pro is an old tool which is not developped since 2000.  And since, a lot of users still use it, because, even seven years later, there is no such great tool available.  Sure, you can find tons of « to do list », « task list », « time tracker », « bug list » — name it — software (see a list of such software in previous post), but no one which let you manage all theses lists from a central location.  No one that lets you CREATE the PERFECT LIST you need.  No one, except thus, ECCO Pro, a so old application that, when I’ve look at it the first time, I’ve simply rejected it directly…  until I was aware of the LOVE users have for this piece of software !

And that is the point of this post.  As a µISVer, if you want to success, you have to have your users LOVE your application.  You must only not build a robust, stable, perfectly focused application, you have your users TO LOVE IT.  Let me say it again: Not only your users have to find your application usefull, they have TO LOVE IT.

Because if they LOVE IT, they will talk about it in forums and on blogs.  And this buzz will give you more visitors, more customers, which will also LOVE your application, so they will talk about, …

Got it ?

Why, do you think, I’m in the process of building yet another ‘List Management Software’ ? It seems there are tons on the market right now. Am’I completely crazy, as a new µISVer to try to catch a small part of this market ?

I’ve post a question on the ‘BoS’ forum : Which Software Do You Use to manage all your lists ? In less than 2 days, I had more than 20 references of such tools. Some are desktop ones, some are web-based ones and finaly some run on so called ‘PDA (PalmOS/PocketPC) or SmartPhone’.

Here are two little lists of theses soft. Why 2 lists ? Hummm… Personaly, no Web-Based solution had never give me a great ‘User Experience’. The biggest (only ?) advantage of a Web-Based solution is that data are “always available” ! Sorry, but that’s not always true ! You already need a PC with an internet connection… The only device I’ve always with me (and so, most of us also, I suppose) is my phone and/or my PDA (in fact, I own a Treo650 smartphone from Palm), not a PC. Also, if some live in a country where fast internet connection are widely available, that’s not the case of everyone. And sorry, but Web-Based applications just sucks on low-speed connection. Point.

So, if I always want my data with me, the best solution is one that rely on a “Mobile Companion Solution”. If I would not have a smartphone or a PDA, I would make my data “mobile” by putting them on a USB key.

So here are the lists. They are incomplete, so feel free to comment about others you know about. I’ll update the lists, and, for the most “rewarded solutions”, made a more detailled review, in a dedicated page of this blog.

[Updated 24/04/2007]

Web-Based:
GTDTiddlyWiki, tadalist, JotSpot, Google Notebook, BaseCamp, ceBase.

Desktop ~ with or without “Mobile Companion Solution”:
Notepad, MasterListProfessional, VIP, Excell, TreePad, MyLifeOrganized, EccoPro, Swift todo-list, MasterListPro, LifeBalance, CheckList, Windows Mobile Task List, ToDoList2, C-Organizer Pro, Painless Schedule, DevPlanner, KeyNotes, KeyNote.

Humm… A lot, lot, lot… Too much ? No.

Some years ago, when the DOS operating system was on every PC, what were the programs — we didn’t used to say application yet — which were the hits ones ? In this past time, a poor program cannot be saved by a great UI. It had to really do somethings usesull. Damn, with only 640k of RAM, you don’t waste any byte on a gadget.

In fact, I’m pretty sure that µISV application must try to back to the basic. Sure, a good “Look’n Field” for the application and for the web-site is important too, but a µISV application must rocks. It must be be a focused application, solving a real pain for user.

A bit like the Good Old DOS Program.

What a paradox… We do business using today technologies, but we have to keep old small business rule in mind: “stay focus.”

Let’s go…

Hi to all,

My name is Stéphane Bronsart. I’ll launch my µISV www.listandchecklist.com (the site is already online — but far from being complete ;-)) in some months, so here I’ll blog about this business.

This blog is named Tijmoe, because it will be exactly that : “This Is Just My Own Experience”. I don’t plan to jump on each hot new subject in the blogosphere… My time is limited (yes, I’ve a day job), and I’ve yet a lot to do before really launching my business.

The product I’m already working on, will be a desktop application — more on this later. So, if you want to hear about web 2.0 development or business, you are at the wrong place.

The application will be named ListAndChecklist. It’ll be an application to create, manage, use any kind of list or… checklist. I’ve already a strong idea of where I want to go with this application, but, hey, if i want to sell it a day, better is to know what customer want, no ?

So have a look at the web-site. When a beta will be available, and if you want to be a beta tester, please send a mail here.

StepH.