Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dan Bricklin: What have I learned in 40 years of developing software products that people use?

Dan Bricklin is the chap who invented VisiCalc (a spreadsheet app) for the Apple II, and nowadays he seems to have fun making Notetaker HD for iPad. Father of Spreadsheet having fun making productivity iPad apps? Sounds like a wonderful life :)

So, what can we learn from him?
  • What is a Product? to get a required job done.
  • 2 week payback rule: make it a no-brainer for people to buy it (significant cost saving). 
  • General Purpose tool? Meet wider a range of need. Spreadsheet not only does accounting, but you could create timetable and tons of other stuffs.
  • Must Have: people make the decision to buy for something very specific
  • Right channel of distribution: magazine, web, app store, etc
  • What the new power can do? PC make computer games possible, and iPhone made computer games possible while on the move. 
  • Smartphone: Since it's a phone, u carry it anyway.
  • What to leave out (limited by resources or design)
  • Engineering: Keep trying, failing, get it right, make something better that your had dream of. 
  • Many people assume you would fail when you take off (which is statistically proven true). Hopefully you can keep you cash flow on a up-drift path.

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