Personally employing developers without giving them a second monitor is tantamount to torcher and makes you an abusive employer as far as I am concerned
Seriously, invest in multiple monitors for your developers, and not the skimpy 19 inch ones but the nice 22 or 24 inchers too.
Instead of printers, get a good PDF printer application (cute PDF is free and simple but there are others) and tons of HD space on a server for them to store those things they find worthy of 'saving' and then maybe one or two simple B&W lasers for printing stuff that is worthy of going up on the wall for quick reference.
Color lasers are great for final copy, but in reality, unless you are going to really be printing your own docs, get a printing company to do that for you and just print to a PDF for them to use as a layout reference. Are you REALY going to be shipping printed docs anyway? as far as color proposals go, unless you are trying to impress the 'big boys' print the proposal, all but maybe the cover, in B&W. Anything else is just a waste as far as I am concerned. As a customer I don't really care if your proposal has a full color layout, I want to see the solution. Yeah screen shots look nice in color, but if you get in the door you can do a PowerPoint and they can see them there.
RegNow - A Company Beneath Contempt: A Study in Fraud, Negligence and Incompetence
For those who are not familiar with RegNow, it is a software registration company, a company that ostenstibly handles the money end for commercial software developers. When trial users of your software decide to buy, they are directed to a RegNow sponsored page that gets their name, credit card info, etc. and sends them a software key. RegNow and most other software registration companies online are now owned by the monopolistic conglomerate Digital River.
My experiences with RegNow started back in February. The way your relationship with them works as a software vendor/developer is that they get a percentage of each sale. Otherwise no other money exchanges hands between you and them, i.e. they don't charge you any other fee for their services other than the commission they make. This is significant because I believe they could be exploiting the fact that no actual money exchanges hands to possibly claim they have no contractual responsibilities to you. So if there are problems with your order page, they can send you polite e-mails saying they are looking into it, but with a tacit assumption on their end that they don't actually have to do anything (and in fact they probably won't, and rather just wait for you to leave in frustration.)
But anyway, back in February I set up my order page and product at RegNow. I chose the option to use SoftwarePassport to protect my software and generate a key for it. I did not know at the time (and had to find out for myself as they didn't tell me) that the RegNow version of SoftwarePassport will not protect DLL's. As a result, I had to ask them to delete my product on their end so I could start over from scratch. (If you have a faulty product setup at RegNow, they have to delete it, you cannot delete it yourself.)
So anyway I had them delete my product and I started over. This time I chose another option for generating a software key that is fully documented by them: using a custom key-generating algorithm. You write your own program that outputs a key and send RegNow the source code for it. This is the program that is executed and generates a key when the user orders the software on their site.
So anyway, that is what I did - I wrote my own key-generating program - no big deal. However, my order page never worked. Five months later it still doesn't work. When the user hits 'order now', either it never returns, or if it does the place where the key is supposed to be is blank. In my correspondence with RegNow, they have always been apologetic and said the problem was on their end, However, they have never done anything to fix the problem. Here is a detailed chronology of what has transpired with them.
When I wrote my key-generating program back in February, I sent RegNow two makefiles (along with a readme file). One made the static library Crypto++ (the source for which is also available off of the internet) and the other makefile built my actual program and statically linked it to the Crypto++ library. Now in the RegNow documentation for custom algorithms, they ask that you send them only one C++ source code file, and that is all. Well in my case, the cryptographic routines for generating a key were not written by me personally, I had to link to them. So that is why I sent them a makefile along with my source code. However, their people were mystified by this and didn't know what to do with a makefile. Therefore, they asked me to just send them the actual .exe, so I did.
Several days later they sent me an e-mail telling me everything was set up. However when I ran a test order it didn't return my key, but instead a SoftwarePassport key. I informed them of this, and they apologized and said they would look into it. Several days later they contacted me again, and said it was fixed. So I ran a test order but this time the order never even completed. I hit cancel and hit the order button again and this time it completed, but with a blank where my key was supposed to be. I informed RegNow of this and they apologized and said they would look into it.
Over five months later and dozens of apologies and promises to fix this by RegNow it is still not fixed (thus the title of this piece "A Study in Fraud, Negligence and Incompetence"). In February and March, every few days I would send them queries to the effect "Why isn't this fixed yet," and they would send back apologies and promises to fix it. There was never any concern that my own key-generating routine was the problem. Its just a trivial little exe that spits out a key string. They tested it from the command line and verified that it worked. So they always claimed the problem was on their end. They just never did anything to fix the problem. And the question is why - stupidity, fraud, negligence, what?
Late in March, I quit contacting them because it was a pointless exercise. Perhaps they were waiting for my product to be generating actual sales before they gave any service to me as a vendor, I don't know. But they kept on telling me they were looking into this problem. From my perspective, what was the point of heavy marketing of my software, if it wasn't even clear yet if RegNow was actually able to handle an order. But late in March I quit contacting them.
Then about six weeks ago, I reinitiated contact with them, reviewing the entire history. Once again I received apologetic e-mails and this time from a technical manager saying he would have people look into over the weekend. However, Monday came, and no response back. Tuesday, Wenesday, nothing. My e-mails to them started becoming more and more pointed. I asked if they were going out of business. I asked if their polite e-mails to me were a calculated brush-off to low priority vendors and if in fact they never intended to do anything. I eventually received technical explanations regarding the problem from this manager, but these technical explanations were in fact laughable. So do they just have untrained customer reps posing as technical people to low-priority vendors and engaging in some calculated song-and-dance? What is going on? Who knows?
Something in their process apparently doesn't work for some percentage of vendors, and rather than fix the problem, they just send polite meaningless e-mails to them promising to fix it. They did have to delete my initial product setup a couple of times in the very first week of all this back in February. Perhaps that action throws your order page into an inoperable state somehow, and they just never bothered to debug it, because maybe it only effects a small percentage of vendors, but this is speculation by me.
There is much more to be said about this, but I have to end somewhere. And obviously I have saved the entire e-mail history. I suppose I could at some point post some of those e-mails as well.
I feel obligated to report I did find another software registation company a couple of weeks ago - iPortis.com. My product was up and running with them with zero problems the day after I talked to them. (The algorithm and everything else.) I have no desire to plug iPortis, except to say they were the very first company I encountered after ditching RegNow, and somehow they were able to do their job.
I signed up with RegNow years ago and never used them. I don't like not having control over my own money.
Paypal is really the best way to go. You can find a file server for your app for hosting if you don't have your own server or virtual server and then
just put the payment link on your website.
They are still in business and still defrauding their customers. I just ordered PDF Editor for Mac by AnyBizSoft. The supplied link downloaded the Windows version and no registration code. They said that if I wanted anything different, I could take it up with AnyBizSoft. Maybe AnyBizSoft would come through but I'm on deadline and don't have time to wait. $50 down the drain. Beware - Digital River/regNow = FRAUD.
I like to have contact with bussinesspeople who are in the bussiness of message exchange, meant as interchanging messages between organizations, techno keywords: EDI, ANSI X12, XML, electronic commerce... Im especcially looking for a company that wants to represent us (www.rozis.nl) in the USA or canada. High benefits if you can deliver quality, understand the concepts of a world wide exchange format and have a broad general knowledge of ERP's used.
The principle is the same regardless of the industry. You spread your risks by having a variety of customers who are in diverse markets. So if any one segment of the market crashes you can rely on the other customers to survive.
Works well if the problem is industry specific, say if aerospace takes a down turn but consumer spending is still strong.
Diversity doesn’t help much if it is like the current general economic crash, although if you are lucky you will have a customer that does well in down turns.
Thanks for the reply, Snowman. Any idea on what is an acceptable profit margin so that the long term I'd still make money. Obviously the more the better, but I'm trying to figure out what kind of deal I walk away from based on the credit rating.
One of the markets that's good right now is web conferencing. I was lucky enough to be in it right now... It's been doing a lot more business now that the market is down and people aren't wanting to pay as much for travel.
A picture is worth a thousand words but it takes 3,000 times the disk space. ~Author Unknown
I am not sure what your business model is, so I have no idea what the acceptable returns would be.
Your pricing model should be value driven not margin driven. If your costs are higher than your competitors your customer will not pay a higher price (unless you offer more value). Conversely if your costs are lower than your competitors, you want to reap a higher margin while giving the customer competitive value.
Your need to look at competitive pricing, evaluate how you stack up and make a judgement of how the customer will rate your offing vs others. If you are new to the market you will have to discount to build a customer base.
Once you know what your customer is willing to pay (market price or less) you can evaluate your costs and figure out your margin. If it is poor, you get out of the business. If it is great, you might expand. But either way your costs have virtually nothing to do with the price the customer is willing to pay except as the costs drive the competitive market place.
Basically, I talked with a recruiter who works for a company that only offers permanent placements. So, he's kinda frustrated that he has to pass up on the contract and contract-to-hire positions he learns about through his contacts. So, he needs a company to front that part of the business and we split the profits.
I'l have some loose control over this, but he'll really be driving the business more so to speak. I've set up some processes and tools to use so that I can start maintaining a contact list, etc., but other than providing money and kicking some contacts his way, I'm pretty much leaving it up to him. I do plan to screen the candidates technically to protect the brand (as much as this can, anyhow). Eventually, I'd like to hire someone in house and perhaps have him head up this division, but that's getting way ahead of myself.
This kind of makes me more like a financier, so I'm trying to determine the default rates for people who use contractors. Obviously, I'll learn more about the individual clients as I go along, but I'm trying to figure out if there's a 5% profit margin and the default rate is 7%, then over time, I'll lose 2% rather than make 5%. I'm trying to figure out where to draw the line for each credit rating on whether I accept the deal or head for the hills.
Maybe I am looking at this wrong, but it seemed to make sense.
A picture is worth a thousand words but it takes 3,000 times the disk space. ~Author Unknown
if there's a 5% profit margin and the default rate is 7%, then over time, I'll lose 2% rather than make 5%
I am afraid I don't understand your math. As I see it you make 5% regardless. You may give up a potential 2%, but you don't lose anything.
The only time you might say you were losing money would be if you had an alternative investment that would make more. For example if you could put the money in bonds at 9%, you would be losing 4% by investing it for a 5% return. If the bonds were tax free, you might even be losing 5 or 6% after taxes. But absent an alternative investment, the return is what it is.
If you are trying to determine the customary margin for an industry, I suggest you do some research using the industry SIC code. There are statistics published for each industry. But use caution in applying them. The numbers may have been generated using a statistically insignificant number of samples or perhaps generated for companies that fall in that SIC, but have no real relation to your situation. And they are by definition several years out of date.
The questions you need to ask yourself are; Am I satisfied with this return relative to the risk involved and could I get a better return using the money in a different way?
thanx for taking interest in my question. Please suggest me some sites where I can submit my software with some gains..... And is the EULA predefined during the time of creating the setup for the software? Or will I have to submit the entire Solution to the software dealers without creating any EULA or setup?
I think you should have your EULA all set before you approach anyone so that you do not give up your rights to the reseller at all. I would look at this discussion group that talks about making a business of selling software.
I've been writing VST plugins for the past year or so. I have three on the market. My problem seems to be underpricing my plugins. Their quality, I dare say, is as good as plugins costing several times more. I priced my first plugin low deliberately to get my door into the market, but now I've seemed to have painted myself into a corner. I really need to raise my prices to make a decent profit.
My current thinking is that by setting a moderately high price for a product you are making a claim. That claim being that this product is of high quality and is worth the price. This is a form of advertising. That is to say the higher price with its implicit claim will get you attention.
Having confidence in the quality of my work, I want to make sure I bump up the price of my next plugin. I want to improve previous plugins and raise their price when I release updated versions.
Any thoughts on this? How do you decide what to charge for your products?
You should charge what you deem necessary for your products to keep you happy and running a smooth business. Yes you can price very high and someone else may design a similar product but that is the risk you run. I would raise your product pricing and then market your product more. The more sales the less you need to price high in order to keep running. Just a thought.
Last Visit: 31-Dec-99 18:00 Last Update: 23-Sep-23 21:02