When I asked “Did I Sell Out?” yesterday, I was more than a little worried about the response I’d get. So I’m both flattered and relieved to see so many positive comments. My thanks to everyone who took the time to reply.
Of course, there were some negative reactions, mostly about TopStyle. I want to make it clear that TopStyle’s stagnation was just as much my fault as it was NewsGator’s. It would be easy to blame everything on the “big company that swallowed me up,” but the truth is that NewsGator has been exceptionally good to me. As Ian Landsman points out, being acquired can be a horrible, demoralizing process – but that hasn’t been the case with NewsGator. They’ve been very hands-off with my work, enabling me to feel like I’m still an independent developer despite working for such a huge corporation (that’s a joke, folks – we’re a fairly small company). I won’t say that the acquisition has been easy, but I can’t imagine it being any easier.
Before the acquisition, I was already struggling to find time to update TopStyle due to all the attention that FeedDemon required, and that situation worsened after the acquisition, in part due to the extra work required to enable FeedDemon to support NewsGator’s synchronization platform (and synchronization was the key reason I sought the acquisition). Really, the bottom line here is that I bit off more than I could chew (both pre- and post- acquisition), and TopStyle suffered as a result.
As many of you know, we’ve been searching for a developer to take over TopStyle for quite some time, and that proved more difficult than we anticipated. Apparently it’s not easy finding someone (1) with several years of Delphi programming experience and (2) with strong UI skills and (3) who deeply understands the needs of web authors and (4) has the ability to take over such a large project by themselves :)
This search delayed the next version of TopStyle far more than we would’ve liked, but the good news is that we have found someone who meets all four of the above criteria. I don’t want to announce who it is just yet because he hasn’t officially started, but once he’s up to speed, I’ll introduce him here. In the meantime, I’ll be working with him to take over TopStyle and define TopStyle 4.0’s feature set – yes, there will be a TopStyle 4.0!