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Your VB Career

  • November 21, 2002
  • By Dax Pandhi
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I asked around my colleagues and in my *business* friends circle and came up with the coolest answers for the following Frequently Asked Questions:

I had a big idea, I created and sold the software - now I don't have a new idea, what do I do?
This is really a bummer, but we have a solution. Look around the Net, try asking your friends and colleagues what kind of software they would like. Then see what kind of software is not available on the market. That's your ticket to fame and fortune.

All my apps demos are cracked, how can I prevent this 100%?
There only way to stop people from cracking it is not to code it. Create a demo that does not have the code for the disabled items. If the Save code is disabled for the demo, don't code that part. It can be cracked only if its coded. The cracker can't go on writing new code! If the demo is time limited, then the odds may be against you, but still with a little ingenuity you can still make it. The best way to create a demo is to make it 'feature-disabled' rather than time limited.

Another way is to never put a Key Generator or Registration solution in your app. No matter who designed it and how powerful it is, it can be cracked. Even the famous ActiveLock has been cracked. The other commercial solutions out there are even crackable. The best way is to make a feature disabled version and when the user registers online or otherwise, you can send a CD or floppy containing the full version.

What is the best way to package a product that will go for retail sale?
Normally, a product box of nice quality thin cardboard, with a tougher card board packing within that holds the CD. The whole box is skin-wrapped with a very thin transparent polythene wrapper. This is how most companies package their software.

However, if your budget is low, package the CD Jewel Case in a Jewel Case size cardboard packing box. It needn't be printed. The Jewel Case's inlay card should be printed nicely. A local screen printer can provide with cheap and good quality solutions.

As for the CD, if its quality you're going for, a silver media (like professional CDs, not gold colored) is required. It should have printed name and some graphics on it. If your budget is low, you can go for 2 color or even 1 color printing. It is a lot cheaper and even Microsoft does that, as with the Visual Studio package. Consult a professional screen printer for more information on how to make nice graphics in single or 2 color print jobs.

How should I put a price tag on my software?
Just paste with glue! Kidding aside, if there is software in competition with yours, try to aim at a lower price than them. But don't overdo it too; keep it as low as possible, but make sure you'll get a profit from it. If you can find someone expert enough, like software publishers, authors, even article-authors of VB-World (*of course* excluding me... you wanna sell your software!!) and if you ask them nicely enough, they just might help review your stuff for you!

Should I get a Security Certificate for my Web sites registration or order page(s)?
Of course, it is a must. It makes your customers feel safe. Something in the range of 48bit Security will do finely. Also, if you can afford it, digital signing for your downloads is also a big plus!

I know I'm ready to start a full pro business, but I'm short on finances, what do I do?
This is something a lot of us are going to have to deal with. A great (and proven) solution is to find a friend or someone with a good financial base and make him your partner in business. He finances the initial capital, then as soon as the dough starts rolling in, you can use the company's money afterwards. If you don't want to make someone a partner, you can also find sponsors and investors, which makes up for a partner, but for only a limited time period.

Optionally, you could find a job somewhere, when you get enough money to stat your own biz, you can quit the job and be on your way.

Where do I advertise my product?
The best place is going for banner ads on some popular sites. Sure, they're expensive, but buying ad slots on less popular sites is just wasting your money. Another way is to 'sponsor' stuff like newsletters, such the ads in our own VB-World Newsletter (Ed: Plug, plug).

For banner ads, www.doubleclick.com is top-notch, likewise so is www.flycast.com. If you have one particular site you'd like to target, contact them for their own ad costs.

I have a very big contract with a company and I'm getting shorthanded!!! Help!
Simple! Subcontract the work out to another software developer. Or hire a few people if you can afford it. Subcontracting is better, where you give part of the job to another firm to do it for you.

TOP TIP: If you're making a software using a Microsoft Visual Studio tool, please make sure you understand their EULA, it has some restrictions on who and where you sell your software. For instance, you can't distribute your software to a US Embargoed country. Remember, always, to read the fine print everywhere! More info in the Code In The Courtroom article.





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