How to make $364 a month writing software

How to make $364 a month writing software

Summary: The rise of on-demand services presents a new world of opportunities.

TOPICS: Tech Industry

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.

Topic: Tech Industry

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  • Interesting thought

    I think this is an interesting concept. The idea that everything is a service and applications need only consume services as needed from diverse and distributed providers is still a bit far off in my mind. In fact I believe this would be more of stretch for most corporate IT shops and lines of business. One reason traditional EAI projects fail in companies is the learning curve involved with not the underlying technology but rather the concepts of abstraction, loose coupling, canonical data models etc. These concepts tend to be advanced for the majority of developers. Building effective services requires these same concepts otherwise very brittle architecture is the result.

    I like the concept of services but I think we have a ways to go. And it is probably more of a journey as opposed to a destination. Of course I wouldn't mind writing software at the house in my pj's. :)

    • Agreed...

      SOA represents a major shift in thinking in the way we build and deploy systems. The advent of the Web itself has helped realign understanding how organizations can be more "virtualized." But a lot of education and proof points will be required to address embedded processes and traditional ways of looking at management. SOA represents, if you will, a "generational" shift, versus something that can be revved up overnight with a few new products.
    • ever heard of software tools movement?

      duh, this idea is almost older than dirt. It informed the Structured programming movement and later gave rise to OOD/OOP. build small easy modules and reuse them to build complex systems.

      Those that don't know their history are doomed to repeat their mistakes.
  • Micro-ISV's as service providers

    Hi Joe,
    Thanks for mentioning the book! While most micro-ISV's are focused on either the desktop or providing a stand-alone service, I think you will see more and more micro-ISVs as "parts".

    You are already seeing micro-ISV's providing add-on services in shipping, transportation and logistics; more will follow.

    Two reasons: developers want to make money and run their own shows and IT budgets globally will continue to get squeezed. If an IT dept can knit open source + micro-ISV products together to deliver a major system, that is a winning combination.
    • Standards, standards

      Thanks, Bob. All possible through standards now. Good luck with the book.
  • okay

    but how do I make that money?
  • Instead of shareware/freeware/opensource we're left with MicroISV?

    come on folks we have plenty of words to describe this activity. we have no reason to invent these aliases....unless, of course, it's a slow news day;}
  • groan

    OOP - ugh
    High Sierra
  • hey... the number is real

    you could make that much working as a programming grunt in India and a few other nations where the cost of living is a fraction of North America's. Guess we should get used to the idea that incomes are going to go down in the foreseeable future.
    • $364 a month to start, "if you do everything right"

      This title was meant to be partially tongue in cheek, as Spolsky alluded to this number as the potential starting revenue (give or take about $300). Having said this, however, it is likely that there will be competition from across borders to deliver application components, as there already is to a large degree. But, there's no reason why North American shops can't compete with anywhere else on the globe and continue to take the lead in innovation and value/revenue generation.
  • You really must be kidding me

    I just love how everybody seems to think that Microsoft is responsible for everything in the world today.

    The term ISV is not a Microsoft coined term, it is a generic term that has been used for many years to identify companies who write software that is (usually) out the mainstream operating system/utilities/tools areas that most large companies like IBM, Microsoft, HP, etc. play in. In general, ISVs tend to produce products that are either applications focused on narrow markets (and therefore, low volume) or are on the bleeding edge of technology (like VOIP was until recently).

    I know that we used the term 20 years ago at DEC, before Microsoft was even on the radar screen as a serious player...