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ISVs and mISVS went *poof* (Public Board)

by Cornpop Sutton ⌂, A bad bad dude who makes good shine., Sunday, February 04, 2024, 16:51 (17 days ago)
edited by Cornpop Sutton, Tuesday, February 06, 2024, 16:03

If you remember individuals such as "Bingo Card Guy" from the old JoS forum, this is interesting. As expected, the ISV rage of geeks in 2011 has long ended.

The "Association of Shareware Professionals", or ASP:

The ASP Historical Archive

https://asp-software.org/

After nearly 34 years of support by and for Independent Software Vendors, the membership voted to dissolve the ASP. The association stopped accepting new members in mid-2020, and formally ceased operations on December 31, 2021.

Their yearly conference was absorbed into something called ISVCon. I find nothing current about it.

https://twitter.com/ISVCon

I went to one of their conferences once, in 2010. Totally a fish out of water experience.

This mISV stuff was pounded so hard on the old JoS forums. It's dust today.

ISVs and mISVS went *poof*

by IT guy, Monday, February 05, 2024, 22:40 (15 days ago) @ Cornpop Sutton

LOL

I remember those days.

Hell I was even caught up in that hype. I would tell myself "I'm gonna start my own mISV someday". I never could motivate myself to work on personal software projects outside of work though. It was something that was always on the backburner that I would do "someday" but never got around to it.

In hindsight, I'm glad I never went tha troute. What a waste of time that would have been!

ISVs and mISVS went *poof*

by FSK, Tuesday, February 06, 2024, 00:01 (15 days ago) @ IT guy

I was thinking of starting an indie game dev business/hobby. That's such a crapshoot and I still have a regular job. Probably I'll give it a try after I retire.

Right now, I just don't have the energy after work to do other coding stuff.

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A general comment on the niche

by Cornpop Sutton ⌂, A bad bad dude who makes good shine., Tuesday, February 06, 2024, 02:21 (15 days ago) @ FSK
edited by Cornpop Sutton, Tuesday, February 06, 2024, 02:26

(This may identify who I am to someone who was paying attention on BoS or other places around that time. If you know who I am IRL from this post, please kindly STFU. :-D )

At the time I was attempting to offer a service to mISVs that would have had a very good ROI. I did land a few successful projects. Not many.

Generally, the ASPers and the BoSers were a bunch of assholes. Scoffing at anything I said when I approached them one on one.

I infer from that experience that the vast majority of them had very poor revenue and were unstable. There was an angry edge from most of my contacts with those people.

It's something you see in the grocery (for instance) when shoppers are pissed because they can't afford a lot of stuff they want.

I think the mISV niche was always pretty marginal with sporadic successes, and went downhill very quickly. The disappearance of JoS and BoS no doubt removed a lot of what little momentum remained. I think the closing of the ASP (similar experience going to one of their conferences) also indicates that mISVs are a tough business.

I disliked ASP when I joined ASP briefly. The members were in the hostile curmudgeon end of the spectrum. I had a negative experience with those losers in the early 90s. I downloaded a shareware library of some kind (forgot it, really) written by an ASP member. I mailed the guy a check to get an unlock code and the rest of the library. The fucking check never got cashed and I wound up putting a stop payment on it. The "ASP ombuds" I spoke with was a totally useless fence sitter.

FSK, in my opinion you should consider just about anything else for a side hustle or retirement gig. IMO the niche made anyone who tried it kind of bitter.

A general comment on the niche

by FSK, Tuesday, February 06, 2024, 19:46 (14 days ago) @ Cornpop Sutton

Indie game developer is something I would be doing for fun, not for profit (unless I'm lucky). I wouldn't spend more than $100-$200/month besides reinvested profits (i.e. store listing fee is $100, asset packs, etc.). I would only do it once I had enough money to retire.

I never really had the opportunity to have a software project where I controlled everything and could make sure it's done right. I've always been a cog in a mostly dysfunctional machine.

The last time I was unemployed, after a few months, I felt motivation to start working on personal projects.

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Take it from me

by Cornpop Sutton ⌂, A bad bad dude who makes good shine., Tuesday, February 06, 2024, 22:44 (14 days ago) @ FSK
edited by Cornpop Sutton, Tuesday, February 06, 2024, 23:00

You idea is noble and idealistic in a way.

But believe me: working on anything as demanding as a software application, without a decent income stream arising from it, is living death.

It's utterly demoralizing and kills your soul (or at least it did for me) to be aware that nobody or very few are interacting with, using, reading, or engaging with your thing.

I've been much happier working on my own projects around the house or hobbies rather than pushing on a product or other idea that needs an audience that I can't build.

However... if your game takes off and gets sales, then you've got a self sustaining spark.

I think comes down to this

by IT guy, Tuesday, February 06, 2024, 23:35 (14 days ago) @ Cornpop Sutton

Do you enjoy writing software (or would you enjoy the end result) so much that you're willing to forego other pleasures if you don't make a penny?

In my case, I can't say the answer to that question is yes. FSK and others may have a different answer though.

It used to seem like writing software had a decent chance of making money compared to writing a book or the like. Maybe there really isn't much of a difference between the two as far as odds of success. Maybe writing a book has the same odds of success as a software application. I could be wrong though.

I actually wrote a movie script once but of course that didn't lead to anything and was pretty much a waste of time. Of course the odds of success in that realm are nearly impossible.

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Bob Walsh

by Cornpop Sutton ⌂, A bad bad dude who makes good shine., Tuesday, February 06, 2024, 15:14 (15 days ago) @ FSK

He attempted to cash in on the mISV thing. His book is still sold:

Micro-ISV: From Vision to Reality

https://www.amazon.com/Micro-ISV-Vision-Reality-Bob-Walsh/dp/1590596013

It was published in 2006, is still on the first edition, and the last review attached to the book is from 2011. That gives a time frame.

I checked out his web site URL 47hats.com. It has reasonable article titles but is full of Greeking and looks like a spammer is squatting it.

mISV == dead, dead, dead

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ISVs and mISVS went *poof*

by ,ndo, Certifiable!, Friday, February 09, 2024, 05:33 (12 days ago) @ FSK

My advice, if you give a shit, is to do something for yourself rather than for revenue. That is a no-lose situation.

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ISVs and mISVS went *poof*

by ,ndo, Certifiable!, Friday, February 09, 2024, 05:29 (12 days ago) @ Cornpop Sutton

I remember the ASP :)

v long time ago I checked them out to see if they had anything interesting/useful. Never joined. Never regretted not joining. I did go on to enjoy "success" in multiple countries on multiple continents. But that industry shrank.

The whole ISV thing was a bit of a facade. I never considered myself an ISV, I was a software publisher and I did ok for a while. I read a lot of JoS and BoS and always thought that most people were a bit less big than they made out.

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To your comments

by Cornpop Sutton ⌂, A bad bad dude who makes good shine., Friday, February 09, 2024, 09:44 (12 days ago) @ ,ndo

ASP was a collection of annuated somewhat hostile grognards. Their community forums were definitely insider's/long timers - only territory. I think they offered some forms and legal services of a kind. Their branding seemed to have some sway in the early 90s but even back then most developers I knew had no clue about them.

I read a lot of JoS and BoS and always thought that most people were a bit less big than they made out.

I dealt with a lot of them off line when I was pitching my services. Most all were full of shit.

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ISVs and mISVS went *poof*

by TheRuse, Wednesday, February 14, 2024, 09:22 (7 days ago) @ Cornpop Sutton

Didn't they just kind of shift to SaaS type apps? Are those even still a thing? I remember that was all the rage after the mISV thing, your 37Signals type of web app.

This is reminding me not only that those were the "good old days" in more than just software, but also that I'm like 10 years behind on development techniques.

Feels bad, man. And makes me feel old.

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"makes me feel old"

by Cornpop Sutton ⌂, A bad bad dude who makes good shine., Wednesday, February 14, 2024, 13:28 (7 days ago) @ TheRuse
edited by Cornpop Sutton, Wednesday, February 14, 2024, 13:53

Me too. Just like contemplating any road in the rear view mirror. We've come a long way since those days. Almost 20 years ago when the JoS crowd started to natter about mISVs.

Didn't they just kind of shift to SaaS type apps? Are those even still a thing? I remember that was all the rage after the mISV thing, your 37Signals type of web app.

Likely, any survivors from those days and that forum are SaaS based. I believe most of them were committed to packaged product delivery (downloads of installers, etc). A few were breaking ranks and touting the revenue potential of subscriptions.

10 years behind on development techniques.

I dunno if anything has changed that much in terms of code and algorithms. Just the brand names, development details, etc And economics.

IE: "git" owns version control for most developers outside government. When I was a SW dev in the early 2000s I used TortoiseSVN, pretty much the same feature set.

What has changed radically IMO is the business case. Any product at the low price end has been mercilessly squeezed to death because one thing you can always count on with smaller and cheaper customers is that over time they always do worse and worse and need more vendor discounts.

Add to the "economic realpolitick" is that most of those guys were on the desktop and mobile apps make the most noise today. I looked at several Android IDEs a few years ago and they were all devilishly complicated with many individual resource files and other crap needed just to build a "Hello World" scale program. For my low level of interest it was too high a commitment of time to wade through the bullshit.

Meanwhile common office products pretty much replace what ISV apps used to do.

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"makes me feel old"

by TheRuse, Wednesday, February 14, 2024, 19:22 (6 days ago) @ Cornpop Sutton

Yep. I got to thinking that I miss the old days of JoS/CoT, not because they were good but because there were so many interesting things to read. I really wish the JoS and CoT archives weren't lost forever, there were so many gems. Brice clipboard rant (or was that JoS I forget), Hubble doing Hubble things, Idiot/Weevil/McGhee and all his aliases posting clickbait bullshit. All of it, lost.

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"makes me feel old"

by Cornpop Sutton ⌂, A bad bad dude who makes good shine., Wednesday, February 14, 2024, 19:42 (6 days ago) @ TheRuse

Communities and cultures not only aren't forever but they tend to utterly vanish without a trace. Poof, like a magician's smoke trick.

Not everything was lost

by IT guy, Thursday, February 15, 2024, 22:26 (5 days ago) @ TheRuse
edited by IT guy, Thursday, February 15, 2024, 22:41

https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/69dh2krub5ak6673nbwfv/The-Joel-on-Software-Discussion-Group-Thinking-of-leaving-the-industry.htm?rlkey=6152j0b69ogmgeobycofjo6tp&dl=0

BTW that was my thread. :-P

I was worried about ageism even before this, going as far back as my mid 20s.

I stuck it out in tech but wonder how things would have played out if I would have pursued something different. Still think about changing fields every once in awhile lol.....although realistically likely past the age where I'd be able to pull off a career change.

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Ok, you were "Bob"?

by Cornpop Sutton ⌂, A bad bad dude who makes good shine., Friday, February 16, 2024, 00:14 (5 days ago) @ IT guy
edited by Cornpop Sutton, Friday, February 16, 2024, 00:20

Great thread, although Dropbox isn't exactly a clean way to share an HTML file (I had to download off Dropbocks and then browse the file locally but it is fine.)

I found my comment on the thread (sic: "donkey dicks"). GD, I was bitter. At least I was consistent. :-D

I've been able to find shyte from JoS, BoS, CoT, and iritu on the wayback machine. Although for a low traffic site archive.org tends to not be completely reliable and drops a lot of content.

The denizens of this thread were overall pretty anti-"the narrative". I wonder if Joel read stuff like this and determined that a sea change in industry was making his forum less of a hot property.

I'm looking at some 2006 vintage CoT posts. The screen names were so fucking inventively funny.

IE: (.)(.) <-- look, boobies

:-D

Ok, you were "Bob"?

by IT guy, Friday, February 16, 2024, 22:22 (4 days ago) @ Cornpop Sutton

I was "Bob", "Mike", and a few other names that I don't recall. :)

Yeah Dropbox kinda sucks for that but I couldn't figure out a better way to share the file.

LOL yeah you were bitter. That's what made your posts so interesting to read.

And then there was Hoyza....dude was telling people to get a job delivering pizzas instead of getting an MBA LOL. That said, looking back, I don't regret not getting an MBA knowing what I know now about the corporate world.

The denizens of this thread were overall pretty anti-"the narrative". I wonder if Joel read stuff like this and determined that a sea change in industry was making his forum less of a hot property.

Yeah that's probably what did the forum in. Didn't he call you out for being too "negative"?

I'm looking at some 2006 vintage CoT posts. The screen names were so fucking inventively funny.

CoT was around in 2006?!?! Wow! I thought it was started later.....once JOS was on its way out.

BTW

by IT guy, Thursday, February 15, 2024, 22:30 (5 days ago) @ TheRuse

I always related to your threads bitching about the industry! Your threads and and the BB threads always hit home.

"makes me feel old"

by IT guy, Thursday, February 15, 2024, 22:29 (5 days ago) @ Cornpop Sutton

Yeah.... It doesn't seem that long ago when I was sitting on the crapper at work and viewing these threads on my company-issued Blackberry.

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