Rethink Commerce Blog

About Bob Walsh

 Author, Blogger, Founder Bob Walsh is a wearer of many hats: when he's not blogging for CNET Webware, he's co-moderating the popular Joel on Software Business of Software forum, consulting with startups and microISVs and blogging about them at 47hats.com, selling a Windows task management program or coding a new SaaS training social network for startups and microISVs.

Walsh is the author of two books, Micro-ISV: From Vision to Reality and Clear Blogging: How People Blogging Are Changing the World and How You Can Join Them.

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Check out his latest articles

Meet me at the corner of Product and Market – or else!

Posted on December 23rd, 2009 by

It’s got to be the single-most asked question in the software business world. Beginning startups – both rolling in VC hay and bootstrapping – ask it. Existing software companies, as they get whacked around by a changing market (Mobile, where’d that come from?) and changing user expectations (You mean, I don’t just run in my browser?) ask it. The polite form of the question is, “How do I/we define what product to create?“. What they’re really saying is, how the hell do we invent (or re-invent) a software product that will sell like mad before we go broke like in out of business? […]

New Year – New Google Realities

Posted on December 14th, 2009 by

When William Gibson said “The future is here. It’s just not evenly distributed yet“, he could have been talking about how Google is reinventing its search results right now and incidentally altering the likelihood your software company will be found in 2010 Q1 by prospective customers worldwide. […]

Breaking Google’s Glass Ceiling with a Microsite

Posted on December 7th, 2009 by

So you’ve tried endlessly tweaking your AdWords, starting a blog and even begun Twittering this year, and you’re still on the second or worse page of Google results for the keywords that matter most. How are you going to change this for 2010? Consider creating and maintaining a microsite.

A microsite (at least for the length of this post) isn’t a brochure-like static page about your product, or a shady way to generate inbound links. In fact, it only just touches your product and does everyone in your market a valuable service. A microsite is a way to monetize for reputation/attention a chunk of all that expertise you’ve built up, in the same way your software monetizes that expertise for money. […]

Why Hammers Sell Better Than Your Software

Posted on August 19th, 2009 by

Hammers Sell Better Than Software
Hammers Sell Better Than Software

Back in April my friend and fellow microISV Andy Brice conducted a software vendor survey that highlighted something that doesn’t get the attention it should: while about a third of the people that visit your site download your trial version, only 1% end up buying.

Why is that? Now maybe the 92 respondents to the survey were atypical, but I don’t think so: I’ve heard that “only 1% buy” adage for years.

Here’s a related factoid Andy’s survey unearthed: the average Mac product conversion ratio is more than 4 times higher than the Windows product conversion ratio.

Now maybe Mac owners are four times richer than Windows users, or maybe because there’s four times less software to choose from. But as a Windows developer who switched two years ago, I haven’t noticed four times more money in my bank account or not found a decent range of software to accessorize my MacBook Pro with. In fact, I’ve noticed – and so has my spouse – I’m much more likely to buy a Mac app I trial than I was likely to buy as a Windows guy. […]

Are you moving or sleeping?

Posted on May 29th, 2009 by

So here you are, another ordinary day running your microISV. Pretty much like yesterday; not unlike tomorrow.

You’re doing what you’ve done, you’re all nice and cozy in your daily routine. The problem you have is that while you’ve been sleepwalking along, the rest of the world has been very much awake. And unless you wake up and stop drifting you’re going to be like someone falling asleep while driving: fine, until you hit the oncoming truck in the other lane.

Let’s take a little test, shall we? Maybe you don’t need a wake up call and can skip the rest of this post. […]

The Cloud and the Crowd

Posted on April 2nd, 2009 by

There’s two trends – the Cloud and the Crowd – afoot in the software world, and if these trends have gotten buried by all the day to day trivia, let me give you a quick rundown on how they’re changing our industry.

Way back say two years ago, one of the first checks you’d write launching your startup would be to a graphic artist for a couple thousand dollars to execute your new company’s logo. It wouldn’t be cheap, but it would be good and they’d been recommended to you as someone who did good startup logos. […]