Sunday, August 26, 2012

Shipping

Back in Ye Olden Days, software had to be copied onto these things called floppy disks, and later, onto CDs. That was before the internet solved all the world's problems, but even then CDs persisted for a long, long time.


You had to make copies of the software, and if you were fancy, you'd put it in a printed box (maybe even with your own printing).

Then you'd ship it to the customer. That's right, you'd hand it over to Captain Postal and he'd throw it into the belly of Ye Old Ship, hoist the mainsails, and he sailed upon the lowland seas. Aye.


We used to say back in the Olden Days, "it's not software unless it ships".

Now, I haven't shipped software that I've been working on since December. Why? Well, because I keep toying with it. And because I don't think it's good enough to copy onto a stack of floppies three stories high. Or even a CD.

It's just not ready. And frankly, it's a labor of love, and I'm not quite ready to put it out there. I ain't shipping, maybe not ever. It's an exercise, not a business.

But you. You're better than that. You're driven. Focused. You've got real customers in mind (for the record, they're either prospects or interested bystanders until they give you money for your still unshipped software).

That's right, you're on a mission to sell software that sells. But it's not software until it ships. That's right, you're working on your project, your hopes, your ambitions, and it ain't nothing until somebody pays you for it and starts using it.

And then? After it ships? Then you're just beginning. It doesn't work well. Or how they expected it to. They call you. Or email you. Or worse, they don't.

And now the real work begins--taking your inadequate handiwork and shaping it so it's useful enough for those first customers to be satisfied enough with it that they'll tell someone else about it. Or give you a quote. Or not ask for their money back.

That's when it's software.

Ship. Ship early, ship often.

(But don't use floppies, ever).

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