6 thoughts on “The Delphi Hour

  1. Good to see your going to be joining the Delphi Hour today. It will be good to hear a fellow middle Tennessee Delphi developer online!

  2. Hi Nick,
    Nice chat. Too bad most of my questions didn’t seem to get through; probably because I was using the Java client.
    Here’s the one I sent a few times and wanted to get your opinion about. I’ll write it here and see what happens ;) Here is it:
    “Given your success, what would you suggest to a MicroISV (2 person team) that has problems getting in touch or getting feedback (also ZERO feedback from both customers and users) from emails, forums and even RSS?”

  3. Eric, that’s a tough question to answer without knowing more about your product. Can you provide a few details on the type of software you’ve created, including the audience it’s intended for?

  4. Our main product is a Usenet newsreader. We know this is almost a niche market, or at the very least a small one. The things is we do have some sales (thanks to Google ads) but most of our efforts to try and find out what our customers would like to see in future versions (even through direct questions) has been met with utter silence.
    At one point we started designing our next major update and we were damn serious about it; while our current release is mostly a binary newsreader, with the next version we wanted to take on no other than Agent itself. We saw so many things in Agent that could be made easier and better!
    We were pretty far into design and we had a series of releases planned that would make our newsreader more and more competitive over time. But the lack of response made us question our decision, especially since it was a medium-term commitment.
    We’ve been making software since 1995 and our first newsreader, a text-only client, was released in 1998. We’re at the point where we’re asking ourselves if it’s worth investing more time in this product or if we should try to come up with something with more mass-market appeal. Putting aside almost a decade of programming experience on all-things-Usenet is not an easy decision for me!
    There’s the story with all the gritty details. I know you’re a busy man and I’ll gladly take any advice you can throw my way. Thanks!

  5. Eric, I just downloaded your newsreader, and it’s very nicely done. The UI looks sharp, and overall it’s very responsive. I can’t say I’m wild about the name, though – “TLNews Newsreader” sounds very bland, so it’s not going to stick out.
    But I imagine the problem isn’t the product itself but instead the market you’re in. Every Windows user has the free Outlook Express newsreader, and these days, many people rely on Google Groups instead of an NNTP client.
    So your customer base is limited to “true” geeks who are willing to pay for a powerful desktop client to read their news (sounds familiar!). Add to that the fact that there are existing products that are popular among the same customer base, and you’ve got a difficult market to break into.
    If I was in your situation and I decided to continue developing my product, I’d do everything I could to get users of other NNTP clients to try my software. For example, make it drop-dead simple to import their newsgroups from Agent and Outlook Express. And perhaps offer a steep discount to users of competitive products (or even give them a free copy and hope to profit from future upgrades).
    You’re probably doing this already, but I’d also find out what features users of your competition are asking for the most, and make sure your software addresses all of their major complaints.
    BTW, if you’re not already involved with the Association of Shareware Professionals, I recommend joining, and then attending the annual Shareware Industry Conference (which is two weeks away).

  6. Nick, many thanks for taking the time to try the newsreader and your kind words. Your suggestions and observations make a lot of sense. I’ll be sharing them with my partner (brother) and we’ll brainstorm over our product and think carefully about what we do next with it. Your feedback was very much appreciated!

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