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Successful Software

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BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Asking for a review of my product and offering it for sale.

This is my first post in this community so hello to everybody.
I have been reading this forum for last two years.

This topic is divided on two parts, first I would like to ask you to say what You think about my product and the web site (It is finished for last two months but as I still cannot sell it to costumers I didn't get any real feedback from users, I'm very curious what other uISV owners and programmers think). Then I would like to make an offer to sell my application to some(interested)body.

ShutMeDown was meant to be the best choice in its niche. Application serves as a power management functions timer for Windows. It is kind of auto shutdown program that you may find houndreds  on Internet, mostly very basic ones for free and few more advanced that need to be paid. I wanted SMD to fullfill its niche (paid, good quality and convenient in usage auto shutdown apps that are being sold not given for free).
You can see my website: www.northnotch.com
and test application (I can send you in email serial code if you want)

Because of some personal problems lately I started to think about selling my application and give it in good hands. I think that it has a big potential as a commercial product. In about two months after putting my website on server SMD had more than 1700 downloads without any advertisement. I just put SMD to software directories  to Internet. And it is still on the last pages of its type so people didn't have opportunity to see it.

I can answer some general questions here, on more technical and business issues please contact me on my e-mail address: contact@northnotch.com

I would also like to ask you where else I could offer my app for sale? Are there other popular uISV and software business forums you know about or maybe you know people who could be interested in buying such things?

It's fresh, it's good and new, and has a great potential to be popular.
But if You are not interested in buying I will greatly appreciate any comment or review of my app.

Greetings.
NorthNotch Software Ltd. Send private email
Saturday, January 03, 2015
 
 
Hi,
>> You can now set shutting down at particular time and see remaining time on graphical indicators

is it the main function of your software?

I can't imagine a situation when I need this function. I can always power off my PC manually.  Do you use your software personally? What is the use case? Is it useful for businesses?
S3 Send private email
Saturday, January 03, 2015
 
 
There are three main functions
1. All power management functions of Windows gathered in one place (like Hibernation, Suspending, Shutting down, etc.). Especially useful in Win 8+ where these function are in different places. SMD is more convenient and faster.

2. Delayed executing of these functions (can be useful when somebody downloads something from the Internet or set some automatic task that takes much time and wants computer to be shutted down after set time).

3.  It can be used as a form of parental control or self control. You can set schedule for particular day or entire week that limits time you/your children/users can be logged to their profile. You can also set ranges when users can/cannot log in to their profiles.

These are main functions. I use 1. very often, it is faster than clicking in Start menu... 2. is useful sometimes for me. The third option not really, don't have children.

I don't think that it could be useful for business, it is for consumer/mass market.
NorthNotch Software Ltd. Send private email
Saturday, January 03, 2015
 
 
Why did You removed my post?
NorthNotch Software Ltd. Send private email
Saturday, January 03, 2015
 
 
New posters sometimes have posts held for approval. They are only shown after approval. It is an automated feature, presumably to guard against spam.
Andy Brice Send private email
Saturday, January 03, 2015
 
 
I have worked for a company that used and bought exactly this kind of product. We had some server software that was a bit unreliable and would crash after a few days due to memory and other resource leaks. We had to reboot the servers every couple of days to prevent the crashes. This product looks like a good solution to this problem.

I especially like the name "ShutMeDown", because the kinds of people who will be the target market for rebooting/shutting down servers will probably know or be using the famous "LogMeIn" product (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LogMeIn) and ShutMeDown sounds like the perfect companion.

There is alot of competition in this market because of the low barriers to entry, but I must say that ShutMeDown really stands out because of it's attractive design, you really have some talent for ui design Mr Northnotch! I think its a long term business to build the brand in the crowded market but you should be able to do it while working in a regular job rather than selling the business!

So if you continue to market the product yourself, one market sector would be people who use services like RackSpace, OVH etc and products like MySQL who have the need to control their servers.

For my comments on the web site, I went to the URL you provided in order to download the software and got stuck on the landing page. My immediate question was "There is nothing here, what now?!". I thought oh it's ad block plus that is blocking the javascript, so i turned it off and refreshed. "Still the same thing! Drat!" I tried clicking on and dragging the image of the "stopwatch" and almost gave up. I nearly left the landing page but eventually single clicked on the image of the stopwatch and went to the main SMD page.

So my first feedback is: get rid of the landing page because you only have one product and as a customer I dont care about northnotch software, I just want to see ShutMeDown! I dont know what the others think (Andy, Bob?) but perhaps you could register shutmedown.io (or other TLD domain) and put the main SMD there for it to be more profesional and get more hits.

The main SMD page is quite good, although there is alot of dead space at the top that you could get rid of or use better. The thing I like about the page is that I can see the product and it looks really quite good! Very inviting to download and try.

Today is the first day of the NFL playoffs and I have a hot date with a beer in my lounge room in couple of minutes but may be back to leave some more comments later

Billy
Billy Thorpe Send private email
Saturday, January 03, 2015
 
 
Hi NorthNotch,

I'm sorry, but I'm still struggling to appreciate the product's market viability.

You've highlighted that this product is intended for the "consumer/mass market" - what 'pain' is this product solving for consumers worth paying for?
From a "parental control" standpoint, there's many applications which go well beyond shutting down etc. (e.g. Net Nanny). Have I missed something?

I can see Billy's perspective of use in corporate market (can it run as a service?) but I believe this functionality it already built in.

Beyond that, I'd also agree with Billy that the GUI is appealing.

All the best -
Marcus from London Send private email
Saturday, January 03, 2015
 
 
As a rule, people don't buy potential.

You haven't sold a single copy yet. For that reason alone, there will be no one interested in buying.

Small apps like that are sold as a multiply of past revenue. There's room to negotiate whether that would be 5x last month revenue or 12x last month revenue, but any number * $0 is still $0.

Until you have some reasonable amount of sales (> $1k / month), your chances of convincing anyone to buy it are nil.

Your best bet is to finish that "buy" page and re-assess after you get some sales.

Personally, I don't see you selling a single copy.

Judging from screenshots, you've created a really nice solution to a problem that is not important enough for people to to pay for a solution.

You clearly have programming skills,. My best advice is to find a more profitable problem to solve.

Final comment: when you do finish http://northnotch.com/shutmedown/buy page, for the love of god don't put barriers between potential buyer and a checkout button.

Don't ask them to read anything, carefully or not.

Don't make them click a checkbox to agree with something you have no practical way of enforcing.

If you want to see a proper checkout flow, see http://www.yepi.ws/fotofi/free-stock-photos.

It goes: buy button => enter your credit card. Nothing else in between.
Krzysztof Kowalczyk Send private email
Saturday, January 03, 2015
 
 
Thanks Billy,
Very good points.
I was not aware that Hamachi comes from "LogMeIn" company. What a coincidence.

Yeah, I'm not a web programmer, it seems that there is something wrong in html or js. I would need to check it.

Marcus,
yes, it is Windows service, client is only for GUI.
There are thousends of people monthly downloading that kind of applications (mostly freeware) for instance on cnet, there are also a couple of concurrent commercial programs with this kind of functionality that have quite much downloads (I don't know, maybe they do not sell anything). I thought that my potential clients will choose my app (when they're in need of one or more of these functions) because of appealing GUI, convinience of using it, that kind of properties. It is nothing new, nothing special, SMD doesn't solve any real problem you can't solve with embedded Windows (in 7, 8, etc.) functions but it was meant to be somethig that makes using PC easier, more convinient like Windows gadgets or sticky notes.

Using SMD as a parental control application. I was thinking about adding more features in future, like blocking networks/web pages. And more.

If I would like to sell SMD to business consumers it should communicate with service from a command line which is not possible now. But it is not a big deal.

Krzysztof
You say noone? Maybe.
Not even one copy? Ok...:), but I will try!

Yeah, You are right, I have to rethink "buy" page. It was not a good idea at all to put there checkbox and conditions.

Maybe it is not really important but I had about one hundred of visits on /buy page for two months that may mean nothing in the end.

Can I ask You about yepi Krzysztof ? It works? I mean, does it work as a commercial product?
NorthNotch Software Ltd. Send private email
Sunday, January 04, 2015
 
 
Thank You for all your comments so far.
NorthNotch Software Ltd. Send private email
Sunday, January 04, 2015
 
 
As far as I can tell it is not possible to buy your software from your website. I read your EULA and clicked the checkbox but it's still not possible to buy. That's probably why you haven't had any sales yet.

You talk about software business but it's not business unless you are making sales. Even if you are making sales, arguably it's not a business until you can make profit.

What no one seems to have told you is that writing the first version of your software is only one step for commercial software development. You need to solicit feedback from people who you think are your target customers. Then you improve your software according to their needs. Then you promote your software and repeat this process. You seem to have only done the first step.

You say that businesses should be interested in this kind of software - have you talked to them ?

Your website style is very much like Windows XP. It looks old fashioned. It's not so bad, if you can work more on your copy, you could get this style to work for you.

I don't see the point in getting lots of translations of unknown quality. I think it's better to make one version in your language and get it to be successful.

Translation is an involved process with lots of back and forth. Every time you change your UI, you can break translations.
koan Send private email
Sunday, January 04, 2015
 
 
@NorthNotch

I haven't sold a single copy of Fotofi. That's partly why I think that selling software is hard.

In my experience, things either work very well or they don't work at all and the amount of work spent making the software has no correlation to how well it'll sell.

If things start working well then you'll know because people will be buying.

However, if you put up a buy button and will get little or no sales in a few months, then you'll also know that things are not working.

This is where people often have a hard time making rational decision and instead of putting their energy into making something new, they keep pouring effort into something that doesn't work.

Fotofi doesn't sell. I'm not working on it anymore (I didn't even  bother to take down the website because it's more work than not doing that).  I'm working on other stuff.

My advice to other people in that situation is the same: instead of putting all your energy into one non-performing  basket, do several different things and when one of those gets traction, put all your effort behind that.

The good thing about software is that you only need one hit. I have mine with SumatraPDF (but still trying to find another one).
Krzysztof Kowalczyk Send private email
Sunday, January 04, 2015
 
 
@Krzysztof Kowalczyk
Yes, Fotofi.
I thought so.

SumatraPDF is well known to me but... can you monetize it? It is freeware, isn't it?

In the end there are more 'business models' like releasing application as a freeware and getting money in form of donations/from adverts on web site (I do not believe it can work but in theory it can).

SMD wasn't not created to make me rich, I had (...still have?) realistic attitude to make some money, not big money.

@koan
"You say that businesses should be interested in this kind of software - have you talked to them ?"
I didn't said so.

You didn't read carefully my first post.

Idea with translations was to put those of not good/uncertain quality on website and those well written in program itself. I wanted to prepare document with instructions for translators how to make a proper translation.

---
Thought that SMD can be something like this application:
Sticky Notes by  Igor Vigdorchik
http://download.cnet.com/Sticky-Notes/3000-12565_4-10573348.html

You would say that it makes no sense to create another sticky notes  program (as Win 7/8/8.1 have it for default - in fact quite good one, and there are miriads of 'sticky notes' like apps provided by authors for free)
but it looks like this guy makes money on this simple app (for a couple of years, it is still under development as I observed it) among other simple apps. Probably not big money but still money.
http://www.igorv.com/

I was shocked after reading about statistics (of sales) from the website of BingoCards' author in one of older topics here.
NorthNotch Software Ltd. Send private email
Sunday, January 04, 2015
 
 
SumatraPDF is open source of course... but can You make money from open source like that?
NorthNotch Software Ltd. Send private email
Sunday, January 04, 2015
 
 
The company I work for uses a tool to hibernate (not shutdown) all computers at predefined time each day (with some options to postpone). This saves a $$$ each year, since nobody uses the computers out-of-work-time.
RossR Send private email
Monday, January 05, 2015
 
 
I assumed that because your software "has a great potential to be popular" and you are thinking to sell more to businesses that you think businesses would be interested in your software.

If you are not talking to those businesses now then you need to start because it takes a long time to get those conversations and it is not easy.

Regarding offering your application to another developer to continue it; you need either more sales or more users or both. Why would someone put time and effort into understanding your code when your niche is just as attractive as any other unexplored niche? Actually, you don't even have sales yet so your niche is unattractive.

@RossR

Is it not a standard option in Windows to hibernate after a certain duration of inactivity ?
koan Send private email
Monday, January 05, 2015
 
 
@koan I don't know. But this is "forced" for each user each day at fixed time (19:00h).
RossR Send private email
Monday, January 05, 2015
 
 
> You haven't sold a single copy yet. For that reason alone, there will be no one interested in buying.

I did a search for "shutdown pc automatically" and there's literally hundreds of websites showing how to do it for free, at a specific time.  Easy steps, too, with nice images and instructions.  So, who's going to buy an app to do what can be done for free?

You say it makes it easier and more convenient, but it's really not that hard in the first place.  I think you're not realizing how easy-peasy this is.

Your app is like a brand-new Calculator for Windows, and trying to sell it by saying the standard Calc on Windows is too hard to use.

IMO, anyway, looking with a customer's eyes.  Even my wife, who is not a coder, said she would never pay for an app to shutdown a PC.  She'd leave it running overnight if something wasn't finished, because she doesn't care about $70/year (a mere 19c a day) in extra electricity costs.

Listen to her, if not to we coders.
PSB136 Send private email
Monday, January 05, 2015
 
 
Hi NorthNotch,

I had such a tool in 1996 and released it onto the internet in 1998.
It started as a helper tool for a friend of mine.
The first versions were free; but it was so populair that it got mentioned in lots of paper version pc magazines, on lots of download sites (which actually really reviewed software at that time) all over the world; placed on utility cd's, on other websites, in books,... I had a steady rate of 4/500 downloads per day on my site alone. (not counting download sites)

There was already competition for #1 shutdown tool but it was still possible to get noticed between the others.

So at version 3 I decided to release it as shareware and it sold pretty good. But most of the customers were companies. So I sold per pc licenses, 10-50,... sitewide...
I had a pretty solid sale rate but not enough to live from; even with all those reviews, downloads, distributions.

Then one day, it got cracked and released on a cracksite. The sales dropped from x to 0 in a few days and that was the end of the good times.

I later then decided to release it for free again and work on it got pushed back and it died. Although it still exists on the internet of course and is still used.

But I wonder how you will manage to:
1. Get found between all those others
2. Get people to pay you when there are lots of free ones
3. Get people convinced to use such a tool... the non technical users won't even think about such a thing imo.

If you want to go ahead I would try to aim at corporate customers; I don't think it has a lot of potential for the consumer market.
Today it's very hard to get noticed with a product; there are just too many, too many download sites which are just indexes (they don't do reviewing anymore for small tools),...

I don't want to discourage you but I don't know anyone who needs such a tool at home. Today's home-users just don't like buying desktop tools.

Have you thought about a corporate version in detail?
I wish you the best of luck and hope you can bring it to life!

Cheers,
Jeroen
Jeroen V Send private email
Monday, January 05, 2015
 
 
Jeroen

I am surprised that a crack had such an effect on sales, especially if you were selling mainly to companies. Do really think all those corporate users that used to pay, went and downloaded the crack instead?
Andy Brice Send private email
Monday, January 05, 2015
 
 
[Off topic]
Hi Andy,

I was also amazed; I created a fix so that the crack wouldn't work anymore and released it everywhere I could think of to disable it; but it didn't help.
I also had home users; not all corporate so probably those ones weren't interested in paying anymore.

A user one day was mailing me; IT DOESN'T WORK, I BOUGHT A LICENSE, IT'S CRAP,...
I asked for the log file; which contained a certain id if the crack was tried; and it was. So he was shouting and had the balls to blame me it didn't work. lol

Luckily it was a hobby for me; and also earn some extra money for all the work put into it.
Jeroen V Send private email
Monday, January 05, 2015
 
 
@Jeroen V
Thanks for comments.
Yes, you and others can be right.

I will try to sell some copies. It can end as my "business card" if it fails completely. Or in some deep future maybe as an OS (but I don't want to say it loudly now.  So read OS as an Operating System ;)

Some people say that everything can be sold if you have a good marketing.

I had/have some good ideas about marketing. I will do my best, as always... :?

It disappoints me a little (a little) what you say but it seems that this is just a (brutal) reality.  And one cannot fight with reality.
I am almost satisfied of SMD, It wasn't that trivial to create it. It still needs to be polished here and there. If I find sense in doing it, I will continue to develop SMD.
I chose this idea because wanted to create something visible to no techie computer users. They like eye-candy things. And something that will be useful. And I still insist that there is a need for such solutions, maybe only free soft for auto shutdown but still. Look at cnet. Thousands of downloads.

Next time will try to find a solution to more sophisticated problem or something that will give me some/any(?) money. Now will try to sell one copy of this great piece of software that little 10 years ago would etch in the history of computer software.
NorthNotch Software Ltd. Send private email
Monday, January 05, 2015
 
 
I certainly wouldn't be put off by all the comments.  :-)
You could try to see what features you could implement for corporate customers.

I personally had a server app, where the agents would connect to and you could shut down/reboot/wake up machines from 1 central point. So in respect to a corporate customer this is very handy because you can control machines from 1 machine.

I personally think that in the world we live in today; the most simple/'stupid' ideas win. If you look at twitter; such a simple idea, flappy bird,...
Sometimes if I see what apps people/youth are downloading then I think: so easy to make, why didn't I think of that!

Good luck!
Jeroen V Send private email
Monday, January 05, 2015
 
 
Its 2015 :)
get a theme for $15 from themeforest.net
NewGuyOnTheBlock Send private email
Monday, January 05, 2015
 
 
1) First of all, make BuyNow button workable. There are no way to buiy your software at all:
http://my.jetscreenshot.com/2/20150108-ds9c-355kb
2) Think about UPS of your software. "I am too" doesn't work in most cases.
3) B2B usually brings more $ than B2C, but requires more knowledge of business stuff. If you reorient your software on business, it will be good expirience for your next projects.
4) Maybe it's better to work on REAL problem? I.e. don't look for a software to copy it, look for a pain to solve  it.

--
Regards, Roman Rudnik.
  http://www.IconDesignLAB.com - Icon Design + websites, logotypes, skins, other...
  Promotion! Refer a customer – earn the money! Details: http://j.mp/nc-en
  http://jetScreenshot.com - a must have for every shareware author
Roman Rudnik Send private email
Thursday, January 08, 2015
 
 

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