Joel Spolsky's wicked sense of humor is on display in his latest posting, which is also the foreword to Bob Walsh's new book, Micro-ISV: From Vision to Reality.
Spolsky admits he doesn't like the term "MicroISV," as Independent Software Vendor is "a made-up word, made up by Microsoft, to mean 'software company that is not Microsoft,' or, more specifically, 'software company that for some reason we have not yet bought or eliminated, probably because they are in some charming, twee line of business, like wedding table arrangements, the quaintness of which we are just way too cool to stoop down to, but you little people feel free to enjoy yourselves. Just remember to use .NET!'"
Anyway, Spolsky provides some good pointers for those seeking to take their software product idea to market.
One trend I keep watching in this space is the possibility that as applications continue to break down into loosely coupled components, enterprises will rely more on functions provided through Software as a Service model, versus developing and maintaining everything in house.
In a couple of earlier posts, I alluded to the rising phenomenon of the "composite company" or "loosely coupled business," which aggregates services on an on-demand basis to meet customer demands. Many, if not all, of such services may be provided from third parties.
It is likely, then, that MicroISVs may be the providers of these service-oriented components, perhaps charging on a per-transaction basis. A MicroISV may be an entrepreneur working from a spare bedroom; or it may be a unit of a larger non-IT enterprise as well. Such a model is already in place at StrikeIron, the theory being that an online marketplace can bring together both producers and consumers of Web services to fulfill on-demand requirements. One microtransaction may be a few pennies, but a few thousand a day across many services will begin to add up to some real money.
Many of today's enterprises have already evolved into confederations of entrepreneurs and ad-hoc teams on a process level; the technology is following suit.