The steps involved in setting up a small software business can be daunting. Walsh has gone through the process himself, from his own "vision to reality", and has written this book in an attempt to show other prospective Micro-ISVs (Independent (or Internet) Software Vendors) the way. As well as drawing on his own experience, Walsh has also interviewed many other successful micro-ISV founders who provide their own insights, including Joel Spolsky of Fog Creek Software, and names from big companies such as Microsoft and Google.
This book focuses on the requirements for running a business in the USA, but includes large sections for those based in the UK and Australia. It also provides a short tutorial in David Allen's "Getting Things Done" personal productivity methodology.
The book contains the following chapters:
(1) "Having a Vision" shows that it is still possible to make a fast billion, even in the post dot-com era.
(2) "Micro-ISV Development" shows that it is not just the programming that counts, but the basic design, implement, test life-cycle, and some of the tools that can help. We are also shown a couple of Walsh's own prototypes from his MasterList task & project management software.
(3) "The Product" is not just the application you have written. This chapter shows what else is involved, from icons to demos, domain names and websites (including blogs), and the all-important pricing and selling.
(4) "Business is Business" goes through the pros and cons of different sorts of businesses that can be set up in the USA (and also for the UK and Australia), copyright, licensing, and provides some tips on getting things done.
(5) "Focus on the Customer" includes marketing tips, technical support, and handling the vast amount of email that a Micro-ISV can receive, together with a round-up of tools to help with these tasks.
(6) "Welcome to your Industry" and, more to the point, how to cope with the big boys, indeed, how to get them to work for you. Walsh shows us round a few of Microsoft's programmes. He also shows us some of the peer-to-peer resources available to the budding Micro-ISV.
(7) "What Happens Next?" brings us a slew of interviews with various people who have also been down this road.
In summary, a useful handbook of how to set up a Micro-ISV, and how to keep it moving, and I look forward to seeing where Walsh goes next.