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Q: What do you find to be most effective marketing and promotion vehicles of your software?
A: I don't really focus on marketing or promotion - perhaps I'd be a millionaire if I had ;-) My main focus is to keep software going out and make sure that it's available from a wide range of websites. I occasionally get approached by magazines who wish to covermount software and I usually accept those. Most of my sales come from word of mouth.
Q: What distinguishes your product from others on market?
A: In beginning it was a combination of being a direct-to-disc recorder and having auto-track. A few programs now contain an approximation of auto-track now, but I'm told that mine is probably most effective. Now, I guess that sheer weight of features is a big selling point as well as degree of customer support I offer. There are lots of little uniquities (if that is a word) in software, but it's really up to user whether those are what they're after.
Q: What kind of market research did you perform prior to developing your product(s)?
A: I didn't. I don't really go with idea of looking for a market and developing a product for it - it's too calculating and it means that you'll have less interest in what you're doing than in how much money is coming in. Good shareware works because users are dealing with a fellow enthusiast.
Q: What tools do you use to manage your software development business?
A: My development is done with Visual C++ 6.0 under Windows 2000 with Visual Sourcesafe for revision control. I have VMWare for cross platform testing and use a combination of Microsoft Word and Doc-to-Help 2000 for my help development. The rest of operation is handled by a fusion of MS Outlook, MS Access and a huge amount of home grown VBA code and C++ plugins. It's a real timesaver having your website, backups and even your release procedure totally automated and it also removes likelihood of mistakes caused by shipping wrong file (it used to happen occasionally). I used to use Installshield Express for distribution, but old version broke on systems which had used installs from new version and new version couldn't be automated as easily, so I now use my own installer. Finally, for distribution, I have Aid Submission Genius, PadGen, AddSoft and Submass (all paid for, of course) and for keeping an eye on my website I use 123 Log analyser. There are other tools I use for various purposes, but nothing which is development specific.
Q: Where do you see your business/software heading in future?
A: I'm branching out into writing now - my other shareware projects haven't met with same degree of success as Audiotools and I don't really want to keep all my eggs in one basket. There may be some more shareware coming in next couple of years (I have a couple of products in development) but I imagine that Audiotools and my books will be my main focus. I even plan to write a book about Audiotools at some point, to give shareware developers "the inside story" as it were. Ultimately, I follow path of least resistance, so my direction in future will very much depend on my successes in present. That concludes a very insightful conversation with Andrew Fish from Unrelated Inventions - http://www.unrelatedinventions.com. Please take time to visit his web site and check out his software and some of his writings.
Gabriel Nijmeh is the software editor at MP3-CDBurner.com - http://www.mp3-cdburner.com, where we feature software reviews and downloads of MP3 software including CD rippers, MP3 CD burners, MP3 converters and more. Stay up-to-date on the latest and hottest MP3 software downloads and enjoy our MP3 tutorials, FAQs, music articles and shareware developer profiles.