Working for one of the biggest software companies in the world I have to say is always quite interesting. We have resources on top of resources to get things done. But I can recall about 16 years ago when I was one of the little guys. I wrote a piece of software that extracted time clock data from Kronos’ TimeKeeper Central (timeclock software) and integrated it into ADP’s PC Payroll application. At the time there was only one other solution for doing this that was vastly over-engineered and very expensive. Now I was a one man operation with no marketing, no evangelists, no test team just me. I sold my program over and over again for a fraction of the price of the other guys and customers loved it because it was so simple. I knew that if I could just market this stuff in a bigger way I could have a real hit on my hands.
Of course in 1990 there was no internet, no software as a service and I didn’t have the marketing budget to compete with the big guys so after I moved to Silicon Valley and started writing shrink wrap software my payroll integration software business died a quiet death. How different the story could be today for the little guy. With the web your customers could find you. You could offer a free try before you buy download great stuff but you will still need more and this is where the middlemen come in.
They are the guys who help you to market, sell and support your customers. They might also help you to test and deploy your software as well. These are companies like Flatburger. I recently did a series of interviews with the Flatburger guys and their customers at their ModSoftCon ’06 in Las Vegas. These guys are focused on helping the little guys (DotNetNuke Module Developers) compete with the big guys (like us?) in a very cool way. You don’t have to be a mega corporation to win any more – who knows… maybe I’ll go back into business for myself someday…
And for more on DotNetNuke check out this interesting ARCast Radio interview with Shaun Walker and the DNN team