25 steps for building a Micro-ISV

As promised, here's my 25 steps for building a Micro-ISV which are hard learned steps based on our experience getting TimeSnapper to where it is today. Each of these steps is both harder than it looks, and easier than you'd think.

It's hard because there are pitfalls, procrastination, misconceptions, anxiety, conflicting opinions and confusion at every step. It's easy because, hey, you're a smart guy or gal, so you can do this stuff in your sleep.

I'm planning to write a blog entry on each of these, and yes if things go very well, it may be a book someday ;-)

The big news is that Scott Hanselman interviewed me, about this list, for this week's episode of hanselminutes, out now! (Hanselminutes, for those who live under sedimentary deposits, is a weekly audio talk show with noted web developer and technologist Scott Hanselman.)

If you want to get some early tips on all of these topics, please listen to the show! It was a real blast doing the show -- far more excitement than this little geek is used to. Scott and Carl were very helpful with all the technical aspects, and Scott was just as sharp and witty as you'd hope.

(He sure was enthusiastic about TimeSnapper too, which really means a lot to us)

Now, on to the list!

  1. Register Domain
  2. Reliable hosting
  3. Website design
  4. Basic Website content
  5. Install traffic monitoring on your site
  6. Create forums, encourage feedback
  7. Maintain a FAQ
  8. Get the best screenshots you can
  9. Configure email for domain
  10. Get payment account
  11. Allow payment from your website
  12. Create a PAD file -- portable application description
  13. Register at download sites
  14. Strategy: separate "free" from "professional" products
  15. Get a suitable end user license agreement (EULA) -- infact get two!
  16. Auto update strategy
  17. License activation webservice/website
  18. Get a license management database
  19. Build a proper installer
  20. Obfuscate your assemblies
  21. Automate your build+release strategy
  22. Free up enough time/resources for dealing with support/feedback
  23. Shiny, Usable, Helpful
  24. Plan and enact your promotional strategy
  25. Do it all again

As each article comes out, i'll update this list to point to the relevant article.


My book "Choose Your First Product" is available now.

It gives you 4 easy steps to find and validate a humble product idea.

Learn more.

(By the way, I read every comment and often respond.)

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