TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Marketing Tools
Volume Number:6
Issue Number:3
Column Tag:Developer Notes

Marketing Mac Tools

By Steve Jasik, Menlo Park, CA

Jasik on Marketing Developer Tools for the Macintosh

Guy Kawasaki is fond of quoting Gassée on the difference between advertising and public relations. The former is when you say that you are great, and the latter is when your (former) girlfriends say you are great. It’s been almost three years since I wrote an article for MacTutor on Nosy or The Debugger. This time I took Guy’s advice and let someone else write a review of the latest version of The Debugger.

While marketing issues are not usually discussed in MacTutor, every software entrepreneur has to give them consideration. As one who has managed to make a decent living over the past five years, I thought an article on my experience would be of some interest.

As two general references to high tech marketing, both Guy Kawasaki’s recently released book, “The Macintosh Way” (Scott-Foresman), and Regis McKenna’s “The Regis Touch” (Addison-Wesley) are must reads. Guy was the head of Evangelism at Apple from 1983 to 1987. His book contains many entertaining and informative insights into the Mac market. Regis McKenna (and his PR firm by the same name) have been associated with Apple since its founding days, he is one of the gurus of high tech marketing. I have used some of the strategies suggested in his book.

The opening paragraph of William Davidow’s book, Marketing High Technology (Macmillian) is:

“Marketing is civilized warfare. If you find that metaphor too brutal, or if you are not prepared to fight, you should not enlist. As long as aggressive competitors exist -- and in this rich and dynamic world they always will -- you will be under attack. Your competitor’s job is to capture business and then defend that new perimeter. So is yours.”

This is nothing new, the electronics industry has been a highly competitive, cut-throat industry since its founding days. The software industry is no different. As an example, consider the C compilers on the Mac. Bill Duvall’s Consulair C was the first native C compiler for the Macintosh, and he cleaned up in the first year. Along came Think with LightspeedC™, and now only the old timers have heard of Consulair . When the competition becomes unfair, court cases may ensue. IBM forked over its Service Bureau Corporation and $50 million in cash to CDC in 1974 in an out of court settlement over the issues of “Paper Tiger” machines and predatory pricing. The value of the settlement was about $500 million.

The Mac market is growing rapidly, but it is only one-tenth the size of the (IBM) PC market. The market for developer tools is a small part of the overall market, consisting of about 10,000 Apple Partners (certified developers), an unknown number of Apple associates, part time developers and students. Outside of Apple, the only company with a big presence in the tools and languages market is the Think division of Symantec. Apple’s developer software is sold at a loss, by an in-house APDA with an uneven discounting policy towards third party developers. Venture capital is not available for system related software. Borland has left the Mac tools market, Microsoft is a minor player with QuickBasic, and I hear that the Think division of Symantec is marginally profitable. Is there something rotten in Denmark??

MacTutor magazine is the only relevant (and reasonably priced) advertising medium for the third party developer of language related products. A full page in MacUser or MacWorld starts at $6500 a month.

As to “Tupperware” parties, there are only a few user groups that a developer of a tool can profitably appear before. They are the BCS MacTech group in Boston, the Mac SIG of the Software Entrepreneur Forum in Palo Alto, the Austin Mac Developers, and possibly the Berkeley MUG, or its tech group.

In addition to the above facts, one has to take into consideration that Apple, with its army of software developers, who are subsidized by hardware sales and propaganda from its publications, are taking over many areas which were previously the domain of third parties. Given Apple’s brand name recognition, a product has only to exist for them to move it, and possibly destroy your market in the process.

To be successful as a third party software or hardware developer, one has to find areas Apple has not or will not enter, move quickly, provide good support, and be prepared to change direction very fast in that event that the 5 ton elephant called Apple comes rumbling in your direction.

For those of us, like me, who are marketing products to a niche market, there are a variety of paths we can take. Freeware, shareware and self published are three alternatives to the standard route of letting someone else publish for you. Freeware is one way to get feedback about your product, but once it goes into the public domain for any length of time you may have trouble selling it commercially. If you need to make a living, then forget the shareware route, you will be better off buying lottery tickets. The only people who have made a living from shareware are Bob Wallace (PC Write), Don Brown (CE Software) and Scott Watson (White Knight - formerly Red Ryder). John Mitchell, the author of Fedit, eventually went self published with it. Boomerang, which I use and think is an excellent product, just changed from freeware to a shareware. I think that the author would make more money by going commercial with it as Raymond Lau has done with Stuffit.

MacNosy and The Debugger, a Case History

When MacNosy was introduced in January 1985, there was a clear need for more information about the Macintosh ROMs. The combination of the complicated and little understood Graphic User Interface used in the Mac, the lack of documentation, and the paranoia of Steve Jobs made it fairly easy for me to get “ink” from computer columnists such as John Dvorak, and John Markoff. Markoff wrote a terrific description of MacNosy in his column in the May 1985 issue of Byte that really helped sales. He is currently at the NY Times. Another important form of marketing is word of mouth via the electronic services. Dennis Brothers, the author of Microphone, was then the Sysop of the Mac Developers SIG on CompuServe, and a beta tester of MacNosy.

Version 1 of Nosy did not have a window mode, and was hard to use. Early in 1986 I added a window mode in which most commands could be performed. After a conversation with ICOM Simulations, it was apparent that they were not going to extend their debugger, TMON, to do some of the things that I considered essential. We also had some conversations about me buying it, but nothing ever came from them. I set to work on extending the technology in Nosy to produce a debugger. The Debugger was introduced in November 1986, as a high level symbolic debugger for applications only. My article in the April 1987 issue of MacTutor (reprinted in Volume 3 of MacTutor) describes its features.

With the introduction of the Mac II, I changed direction by putting the emphasis on The Debugger. The shift was due to the discovery that more people wanted to look at the workings of their own programs than others, or the ROMs. I later changed the name of the package to “The Debugger and MacNosy” to reflect the shift, but most users still refer to it as Nosy, and get the two products confused. Version 2 of The Debugger which supported the debugging of code resources (INITs, DRVRs ) and multiple tasks at a time, was introduced in June 1988.

With the advent of MPW 3.0 and the “.SYM” file format I was able to add source level debugging to The Debugger. Now Apple both giveth, and Apple taketh. They gave us a semi-open architecture product, namely MPW, and a spec for source level debugging that their compilers and linker met. They also gave us their rendition of a source level debugger in the form of SADE, which is an obvious threat to my market. In the process of doing this, they forgot to do a number of things, foremost being to make the “system” run at an acceptable speed. Compile times were up by a factor of two, link times by a factor of three, and SADE was slow to the point that I usually write its name as SADe. That some heads haven’t been chopped off for it is rather amazing. I’ve seen vice presidents escorted out the door for less! But in deference to large corporations in general, I should point out that we used to say that “XYZ doesn’t release software, it escapes” (despite the best efforts of the Software QA group). It appears that MPW 3.0 is an example of that.

For a few months I fumed at the Apple for producing a system which was so slow. Then the impetus for doing an incremental linker for MPW came from a conversation with one of my customers (this is what it means to be market driven). That was in March of 89. Two months later I had PatchLink running, and the Pascal compiler patched for incremental compilation in time for the Spring Developers conference. When I demoed it at one of the sessions, Apple engineers in the MPW group who I had given up on talking to, visited my “booth”. I shipped the release version of IBS on September 1, and in the process of beta testing it has converted many of the major users of MPW (Claris, Aldus, Odesta, Oracle, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Acius, ) over to using my debugger and IBS. The lesson to you is that in order to “beat” Apple (or any other company) in a given market, you have to offer the potential customer something unique that sets your product apart from theirs. IBS with Instant Link did just that. Many large programs that are being developed on the Mac, such as the next version of PageMaker, have link times that run between 5 and 15 minutes. This slow turnaround time negates the interactive nature of program development on the Macintosh, and is expensive to companies that are paying real money to their programmers.

The penalty for failing to position your product as a unique entity in relation to your competitors is that you may end up in a commodity war in which price, availability and the market identity of your brand will be the determinants. As an example, consider Resourcer by Doug McKenna. It is a distinct improvement over Apple’s ResEdit, but is there enough utility or difference in it for you to spend $100 or so on it?

While the taste of victory is sweet, one has to keep in mind that there are more of them at Apple than you or I, and eventually like the Russian Army and Napoleon, they will get us by attrition in the long Russian Winter. While they are promising an incremental linker for a future version of MPW in 1991, I still have a couple of rabbits in my hat that will keep me a step or two ahead of MPW. Given their financial resources, the question is why haven’t they built a system with incremental linking years ago? Both Think’s Lightspeed C and Pascal have had integrated project managers with incremental linkers for over four years. If they are so smart, why has it taken Apple so long?

Now a bit more on my current marketing strategy. When APDA moved in-house last year I lost one of my primary distribution channels. The old APDA sold my product at the discounted price of $275, and the new (Apple) APDA has deemed that my product is not popular, and should be sold at my suggested list price of $350 (catch-22). This has cost me about 20% of my sales. My solution to this problem has been to go after site licenses at the major Mac developers (Claris, Aldus, ) to make up for the slack. The reasoning being that a sales trip via airplane costs about $800, and if I can put myself in front of $10K or so of potential customers, then it is worth the trip. So far this strategy appears to be working.

Let me close by saying that I haven’t recounted horror stories that some developers have had with their distributors, or talked about what trade shows are worth while for tools. The MacWorld conferences are not attracting the right crowd for me. There are many opportunities for new and innovative products in the Mac market, just don’t expect to get rich in the tools and languages area.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

MacFamilyTree 7.3.4 - Create and explore...
MacFamilyTree gives genealogy a facelift: it's modern, interactive, incredibly fast, and easy to use. We're convinced that generations of chroniclers would have loved to trade in their genealogy... Read more
Yummy FTP 1.10.2 - FTP/SFTP/FTPS client...
Yummy FTP is an FTP + SFTP + FTPS file transfer client which focuses on speed, reliability and productivity. Whether you need to transfer a few files or a few thousand, schedule automatic backups, or... Read more
VueScan 9.5.08 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
Iridient Developer 3.0.1 - Powerful imag...
Iridient Developer (was RAW Developer) is a powerful image conversion application designed specifically for OS X. Iridient Developer gives advanced photographers total control over every aspect of... Read more
Air Video Server HD 2.1.0 - Stream video...
Air Video Server HD streams videos instantly from your computer on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Apple TV. No need to worry about converting or transferring files. We took everything that was... Read more
Duplicate Annihilator 5.7.5 - Find and d...
Duplicate Annihilator takes on the time-consuming task of comparing the images in your iPhoto library using effective algorithms to make sure that no duplicate escapes. Duplicate Annihilator... Read more
BusyContacts 1.0.2 - Fast, efficient con...
BusyContacts is a contact manager for OS X that makes creating, finding, and managing contacts faster and more efficient. It brings to contact management the same power, flexibility, and sharing... Read more
Capture One Pro 8.2.0.82 - RAW workflow...
Capture One Pro 8 is a professional RAW converter offering you ultimate image quality with accurate colors and incredible detail from more than 300 high-end cameras -- straight out of the box. It... Read more
Backblaze 4.0.0.872 - Online backup serv...
Backblaze is an online backup service designed from the ground-up for the Mac.With unlimited storage available for $5 per month, as well as a free 15-day trial, peace of mind is within reach with... Read more
Little Snitch 3.5.2 - Alerts you about o...
Little Snitch gives you control over your private outgoing data. Track background activity As soon as your computer connects to the Internet, applications often have permission to send any... Read more

2K Announces WWE 2K, Mobile's First...
It seems like this month has been pretty big for wrestling. First Wrestlemania, then 2K has announces that they're releasing  WWE 2K for iOS. It's a simulation-based WWE game where you'll get to play with several WWE superstars such as John Cena, ... | Read more »
How the Apple Watch Could Change the Fac...
The Apple Watch is still a ways out, but my previous musings on the wearable’s various features got me thinking: what might it be like a year after launch? Two years? Five years? What if it becomes a symbiotic part of the iOS framework to the point... | Read more »
Pie In The Sky: A Pizza Odyssey (Games)
Pie In The Sky: A Pizza Odyssey 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: A game about delivering pizza. In space. | Read more »
Chosen Gives Hopeful Singers, Songwriter...
If YouTube videos and reality TV shows like The Voice have taught us one thing, it’s that there are a lot of people out there who are anxious to show the world their talents. And if they’ve taught us a second thing, it’s that there’s an almost... | Read more »
Android's Popular OfficeSuite Now A...
Once only available for Android devices, OfficeSuite has finally landed on the app store. The Mobile Systems app lets you view, edit, create, and share Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents as well as convert them to/from PDFs. It's touted as being... | Read more »
Warhammer: Arcane Magic is Coming Soon,...
Turbo Tape Games has announced that they're joining forces with Games Workshop to bring the turn-based strategy board game, Warhammer: Arcane Magic, to life on the iOS. | Read more »
Fast & Furious: Legacy's Creati...
| Read more »
N-Fusion and 505's Ember is Totally...
| Read more »
These are All the Apple Watch Apps and G...
The Apple Watch is less than a month from hitting store shelves, and once you get your hands on it you're probably going to want some apps and games to install. Fear not! We've compiled a list of all the Apple Watch apps and games we've been able to... | Read more »
Appy to Have Known You - Lee Hamlet Look...
Being at 148Apps these past 2 years has been an awesome experience that has taught me a great deal, and working with such a great team has been a privilege. Thank you to Rob Rich, and to both Rob LeFebvre and Jeff Scott before him, for helping me... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Adobe Brings Powerful Layout-Design Capabilit...
Adobe today announced the availability of Adobe Comp CC, a free iPad app that enables rapid creation of layout concepts for mobile, Web and print projects. With Comp CC, designers can rough out and... Read more
Apple offering refurbished 27-inch 5K iMacs f...
The Apple Store is offering Apple Certified Refurbished 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMacs for $2119 including free shipping. Their price is $380 off the price of new models, and it’s the lowest price available for... Read more
16GB iPad mini on sale for $199, save $50
Walmart has 16GB iPad minis (1st generation) available for $199.99 on their online store, including free shipping. Their price is $50 off MSRP. Online orders only. Read more
New 128GB MacBook Airs on sale for $50 off MS...
 B&H Photo has 128GB 11″ and 13″ 2015 MacBook Airs on sale today for $50 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 11″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air (Model #MJVM2LL/A): $849 $50 off... Read more
13-inch 2.6GHz Retina MacBook Pro (refurbishe...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ 2.6GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pros available for $979 including free shipping. Original MSRP for this model was $1299. Read more
Save up to $600 with Apple refurbished Mac Pr...
The Apple Store is offering Apple Certified Refurbished Mac Pros for up to $600 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each Mac Pro, and shipping is free. The... Read more
Samsung Galaxy S 6 and Galaxy S 6 edge U.S. P...
Samsung Electronics America, Inc. has announced the Galaxy S 6 and Galaxy S 6 edge will be available in the U.S. beginning April 10, with pre-orders being accepted now. “We have completely reimagined... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro (refurbished) avai...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros available for $829, or $270 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.... Read more
Save up to $80 on iPad Air 2s, NY tax only, f...
 B&H Photo has iPad Air 2s on sale for $80 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 16GB iPad Air 2 WiFi: $469.99 $30 off - 64GB iPad Air 2 WiFi: $549.99 $50 off - 128GB iPad... Read more
iMacs on sale for up to $205 off MSRP
B&H Photo has 21″ and 27″ iMacs on sale for up to $205 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 21″ 1.4GHz iMac: $1019 $80 off - 21″ 2.7GHz iMac: $1189 $110 off - 21″ 2.9GHz... Read more

Jobs Board

DevOps Software Engineer - *Apple* Pay, iOS...
**Job Summary** Imagine what you could do here. At Apple , great ideas have a way of becoming great products, services, and customer experiences very quickly. Bring Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Sr. Technical Services Consultant, *Apple*...
**Job Summary** Apple Professional Services (APS) has an opening for a senior technical position that contributes to Apple 's efforts for strategic and transactional Read more
Lead *Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail...
**Job Summary** Job Summary The Lead ASC is an Apple employee who serves as the Apple business manager and influencer in a hyper-business critical Reseller's store Read more
*Apple* Pay - Site Reliability Engineer - Ap...
**Job Summary** Imagine what you could do here. At Apple , great ideas have a way of becoming great products, services, and customer experiences very quickly. Bring Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.