Quite a lot has been said recently about micro ISV’s. This term coined by Eric Sink refers to one-man-crew (ring any bells anybody?) companies that produce software products usually under some sort of shareware licence. Since then a whole community rose around the subject and it seems that every geek out there is considering to start a pet project of his own.
I don’t know whether to believe the simplicity of the concepts, but I feel swooped by the wave. I even got my own list of ideas that I might one day try to make into a product.
And yet, I think there is one crucial thing missing in the discussion of the subject.
It’s not the man’s competence as a programmer or as a manager that is going to make his product a winner. It’s his belief. One thing I find common with all the entrepreneurs is the unfailable belief in their eventual success, in their product. They seem to be stubborn, arrogant people that are living a fantasy that has nothing to do with any actual facts, and yet, they are the most successful. Unfortunately, although I consider myself a good developer and a manager with some prospect, I don’t have that belief factor. Most people don’t.
When I was sixteen a friend of mine came to me with an idea. He wanted to print commercial leaflets for stores and shops in our home town. I said it would never work and he would never earn anything. I was wrong. Three years later he came to me with another idea. He wanted to build and sell PCs out of his appartment. I told him that there is so much people already doing it that we had no chance of success. I was wrong again. Comes a time when one has to be truthful with oneself and recognize his own limitations. I think I’ll keep working my way up in the well establishes companies. Starting my own will have to wait a decade or two.
Aside that I have to admit that working alone for an entire year (or more) sounds scary . Can we really give up the thrill of intense debugging in the middle of the night with empty pizza cartons spread all over the floor? Many geeks don’t realize it, but software development is a social experience and working alone for long periods of time can hamper creativity.