ASPects Newsletter

ASPects was the newsletter of the Association of Software Professionals from 1988 to 2019, serving both as the publication of record for reporting news, official business, and member benefits to the membership, and helping members to create and sell software using the marketing methods of try-before-you-buy and many other marketing methods.

ASPects contains confidential and proprietary information, and so is normally not available to non-members, but one issue per year is available publicly. Several of the most recent convention special issues are available for download in PDF format–click any cover image below to read the issue.

The editors of ASPects were:

  • Tom Simondi, 1988 to Jan 24 1992, 23 issues (and 4 supplements)
  • Bruce Robey, February 1992 to August 1993, 18 issues
  • Jerry M. Johnson, October 1993 to October 1994, 12 issues
  • Richard Harper, November 1994, 1 issue
  • Will Daniel, December 1994 to October 1997, 34 issues
  • Jerry Stern, November 1997 to January 2015, 207 issues
  • James Green, April 2018 to October 2019, 5 issues

January 2019 ASPects EXTRAASPects, January 2019 EXTRA
Volume 30, No. 1 (1.23 Mbb)

Welcome to ASPects EXTRA, January 2019
by James Green, ASP Director

Annual Meeting and Election Results
The Annual Membership Meeting and officer election took place between December 3 and December 10, 2018. Jeff Gibson (President) and Howard Sobel (Chairman) were reelected. Welcome to James Bragg as a new ASP Director! (page 2)

You’ve got the Killer App. Now What? (Part 3)
by James Greene, ASP Director
This is the third part of a series looking at the challenges of building a successful business around a great product. In this installment, James looks at the challenges of providing support for both private and corporate customers. (page 3)

Ask Your Customers About Their Growth Goals
by Jessica Dewell, ASP Director
Jess reflects on the impact of technology on the customer experience and how to use technology to facilitate communication with your customers. (page 4)

Five Quick Copywriting Tips
by Ivan Levison
Ivan addresses the benefits of short and simple communications. Make sure that your sales materials truly help close the sale! (page 7)

ASPects Extra 2018-04

ASPects (Redux) 2018
This extra edition of ASPects is an excerpt of the ASPects which was distributed to all ASP members in April 2018. (page 1)

The Key to Productivity
by James Greene
Thousands of self-help books have been published on the topic of time management and productivity. Regardless if you are a business owner, manager or a file clerk, every one of us is expected to squeeze every bit of efficiency out of our business day. (page 1)

PAD Specification 4.1 Working Group
by Joel Diamond
A PAD Committee is now being formed to specify the next release of the PAD specification (PAD® version 4.1). Like all previous specification updates, the ASP is inviting members to join the working group and contribute to the next generation of the PAD specification. (page 2)

Business Action vs Business Impact Action
by Jessica Dewell
Finding the balance of working on things and working towards things is tough. It takes effort and discipline. Do your tasks keep you busy just maintaining your current business or really help you to advance it? (page 5)

Eight Ways to Generate More Leads
by Ivan Levison
What do software marketers covet and crave? Leads! High-quality leads that can be poured into the sales funnel and transformed into profitable sales. If you want your web pages and emails to generate a lot more leads, I’ve got eight time-tested ideas for you. (page 6)

September 2013 ASPectsASPects, September 2013
Volume 26, No. 9 (1.4 Mb)

Do You Know What It Takes to Succeed in the Software Business?
by Gianfranco Berardi
Are you thinking about starting your own software business? Are you worried about unanswered questions regarding the process of doing so? Are you concerned about the risk?
Invest in your success, and join the Association of Software Professionals today….(page 1)

Trade Show Calendar
ISVCon, September 27-29, 2013 (page 2)

Publishers Reap Benefits from Global PAD v4 Repository
by Joel Diamond
The PAD Specification v4.0 is nearly 9 months old and the community of publishers as well as download sites, software catalogs and other PAD support channels are already reaping benefits… (page 3)

Flying through hyperspace ain’t like dustin’ crops
by Al Harberg
In today’s troubled economy, a lot of microISVs who sell consumer software are trying to add a business application or two to their product mix. As Han Solo explained to Luke Skywalker in the first Star Wars movie, piloting the Millennium Falcon to another galaxy is not like flying a crop duster on the family farm. Similarly, developing and marketing a business application is not like developing yet another program for home users. Software developers who understand the differences between the two marketing challenges can do a better job of generating income with their new marketing focus. Here are some insights about what you might encounter as you move into the business software arena… (page 4)

Top 10 Mistakes Made When Hiring Freelancers
by Jim Coutu
When hiring freelancers, mistakes can be made at almost any turn. As an arbitrator who specializes in freelance projects, I have arbitrated over a thousand failed projects. Many times I have seen cases where someone hiring a freelancer made easily-correctable mistakes that caused their project to fail. Here are the top ten mistakes made when hiring freelancers… (page 5)

Don’t Build a DoorSlam!
An App is Not a Web Site

by Jerry Stern
I’ve been seeing annoying apps this year.A lot of them. Really, I should install an app for Sheetz? Really? Hello, it’s a gas station with hot dogs, and road-side billboards that tell me to install their app. Why?
Some online blogs are calling these sites and apps doorslams… (page 9)

How to Get an Ultimate Perspective on Your Business
by Jiri Novotny
The best way to quickly gain a tremendous perspective on your business is to create a visual model of it…. (page 11)

Own the Software Sales Process
by Al Harberg
Take charge of the sales process if you expect to close a sale. That advice comes from Joe Girard, the world’s greatest salesman according to The Guinness Book of World Records. Much of the advice in Girard’s book How to Close Every Sale can be translated from Girard’s experience with face-to-face automobile sales into the realm of selling software on the Internet… (page 13)

ASP Member News
DataNumen: Powerful, Affordable RAR Repair Software (page 14)
Popular “Allmyapps” Windows App Store to be based on PAD® v4.0 (page 14)

News & Press Corner
Amazon Appstore Now Accepting HTML5 Web Apps (page 15)
Amazon Launches Mobile Associates API (page 15)
Moving forward (Steve Ballmer of Microsoft retires) (page 16)

August 2012 ASPectsAugust 2012
Volume 25, No. 8, Issue # 265 (780 Kb)

ISVCon 2012 in Reno
by Gianfranco Berardi
After much preparation, last month the ASP hosted its first ISVCon, the new Software Industry Conference, in Reno, Nevada. The rebooted conference kicked off with a Thursday night Welcome Reception sponsored by Digital River’s MyCommerce. It was a great opportunity to meet fellow attendees while enjoying some of the delicious hors d’oeuvrs and drinks provided by the excellent Atlantis Casino Resort Spa staff, a taste of things to come… (page 1)

AppVisor/ASP Partnership to Provide Full Update to the ASP PAD Platform
by Joel Diamond
The early beginning of the idea behind AppVisor started around 2008…
Thus, AppVisor has been formed to support, protect, and enhance the ASP’s PAD platform, the intellectual property of the platform, and the integrity of the platform, and to reinvest in the platform, so it meets the needs of current and future members of the ASP… (page 1)

Trade Show Calendar
(page 2)

Dennis Reinhardt Joins ASP Hall of Fame
by Gianfranco Berardi
The ASP Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who have helped make the ASP what it is today. During Saturday lunch at ISVCon, it was my pleasure to present the ASP Hall of Fame award to Dennis Reinhardt… (page 4)

The Benefits of PAD Certification
by Joel Diamond
Why does the PAD Platform Require Certification? (page 6)

Interface Guidelines for Mobile/Touchscreen Devices
by Gregg Seelhoff
Several years ago, I gave a presentation at SIC entitled, “Practical Interface Guidelines: Things they did not teach us in programming class”, in which I detailed some best practices for interface design and implementation. While general interface principals remain persistent, the recent popularity and growth in mobile and touchscreen devices demands a revisit; smartphones, tablets, and similar devices have somewhat different interface requirements… (page 7)

Paid Upgrades or Free Upgrades?
by Jiri Novotny
The recent passionate discussion in the ASP newsgroups- “The million dollar question–To charge for updates or not?” inspired me to write this article.
I would like to offer you my thinking as someone who has experience with free upgrades, paid major upgrades, and upgrade subscriptions… (page 9)

ASP News
Motion: Web forum, Call for volunteer: Member Offers Manager, New SaA: Steve Faleiro, Assistant Don Waterfield (page 11)

Marketing Software to Retirees
by Al Harberg
According to Harris Interactive, 28 percent of people who are 67 and older use eReaders to read books. Based upon the current state of the book publishing industry, I wouldn’t have guessed that 28 percent of many demographic groups read books in any format. But more significantly, the survey points out that retired people are comfortable using technology. And that’s a software marketing message that software developers shouldn’t ignore…
Don’t ignore the Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation when you’re making your marketing plans… (page 12)

ASP Member News:
Slimbrowser V6 – a Versatile Full-service Browser (page 13)
Digital River Enables eCommerce in in Metro Apps (page 14)

News & Press Corner
ESWC Announces 2012 Software Conference and Epsilon Award (page 14)

July 2012 ASPectsJuly 2012
Volume 25, No. 7, Issue # 264 (1.1 Mb) Convention Special Issue

Welcome to Reno!
by Gianfranco Berardi
The ASP has changed and grown with the industry in these last 25 years. We promoted try-before-you-buy as a marketing method until it became The Way Things Are, we’ve made our interests known and were successful at getting important laws changed that would impact our industry, and most recently we’re hosting an amazing conference… (page 1)

Trade Show Calendar
(page 2)

The Biggest Mistake You Can Ever Make
by Jiri Novotny
The biggest mistake you can ever make is to wing it alone.
Being a mISV is awesome. But I think that doing it all alone and never fully connecting with other mISVs is not awesome… (page 3)

ASP Indie Games SIG
by Gregg Seelhoff
Did you know that the Association of Software Professionals has a SIG (Special Interest Group) specifically for game developers? (page 4)

PAD Specification Update
by Joel Diamond
Plans are being made for a major overhaul to the entire PAD platform beginning this summer. Members will be notified in the very near future with the full plans for both changes and enhancements to the PAD Specification as well as the authoring tools, shortly after ISVCON… (page 6)

How to Capture a Screen
by Jerry Stern
I spent some time looking at software screen shots recently. It was something of an eye opener. As in, it caused considerable visual stress to look at the ugly things. They were, for the most part, worthless…
It’s not just that these screenshots don’t show what the program can do; they don’t even identify what program we’re looking at… (page 6)

Customer Relationship Management for microISVs
by Al Harberg
Customer relationship management (CRM) is good software marketing. CRM is a simple notion that can help software developers sell more of their applications: It costs most businesses less money to generate sales from old customers than it does to find new ones… (page 8)

Call Yourself!
Are You Impossible to Reach?

by Jerry Stern
I’m surprised by basic web page failures among microISVs. I follow a link to a product I’ve heard about for years, or was recommended to me, and I see, well, crab grass…
We run software and technology businesses, and many of us are guilty of liking our technology so much, that we want to just do that…
The common error in a small business is skipping supervision… (page 11)

Software Passwords and Software Marketing
by Al Harberg
If your software asks users to create a password to protect the privacy of their information, then you have an opportunity to offer additional value to your customers. And that can mean increased software sales, additional recommendations, and good will for your company in your marketing niche.
Help your users choose effective passwords… (page 14)

ASP Member News
Slimbrowser – a Fast and Secure Tabbed Web Browser (page 14)
Affordable Cloud-Based Speed Reading Software for Colleges and College Prep (page 15)
Create Handwriting Fonts In Many Major Languages (page 15)

News & Press Corner
Microsoft Announces Windows 8 Upgrade Offer (page 15)
WinZip Android App Now Available (page 15)

August 2011 ASPectsAugust 2011
Volume 24, No. 8, Issue # 253 (585 Kb) Convention Special

The NEW Software Industry Conference: ISVCon
by Sue Pichotta
ASP Conference Manager With new owners, a new nickname, a new location, a new venue, and even a new website, the Software Industry Conference is being reborn!
ASP buys SIC:
The Association of Software Professionals is proud to announce that it has purchased the rights to the Software Industry Conference (SIC), which took place every summer from 1991-2010. SIC has been an event where you could learn more about software marketing and other business of software issues, meet with other ISVs, and get a chance to talk to some of the businesses serving the ISV community. The ASP is honored to be able to continue making this worthwhile conference available to our industry, and give it a reboot with some new ideas… (page 1)

Trade Show Calendar
(page 2)

ASP News
Don Waterfield appointed as Webmaster (page 3)

PAD Futures
by Joel Diamond
An entire software industry flourishes now that has been built on top of the ASP specification of PAD. The Portable Application Distribution changed the way the software authors and distribution sites publish product information. Before PAD, authors provided descriptions to web sites one-by-one, dealing with unique description requirements and agreements for each distribution opportunity. But software has radically changed, the methods of distribution have changed, and the needs of sites who have built their business on the PAD platform have changed.
I will use my recent appointment as PAD Chair to assist the ASP in strategically leading the efforts to update, enhance, and expand the current PAD platform… (page 4)

Beyond this Point, There be Technobabble
or: How to Write for Today’s PC Users

by Jerry Stern
Many years ago, a friend was grumbling about the things we did to configure our computers. It was mostly downloading programs that could do things with types of files that were newer than what the operating system knew about–this was in 1981, by the way, and the computers were not IBM compatible. Nothing has changed….
So, software developers, there you have the typical home user of computers, and quite a lot of business users, too. If you’re writing software for a non-expert, there are a few things you have to keep in mind when you put messages on a screen, in the help file, or on a web page… (page 5)

Optimizing Your Purchase Page (Basics)
by Jiri Novotny
Your mISV website has three main goals:
1. Attract visitors.
2. Get them to download your software.
3. Get them to purchase your software.
All these steps are vital; however, I would argue that the purchasing page is the most important part of your website… (page 8)

3 Easy Ways to Use Twitter
by Gianfranco Berardi
You’ve joined the party! You’ve heard that Twitter is a free and easy way to promote your business, and so you’ve signed up for a Twitter account to promote your business, added a profile picture and a bio, and followed a number of interesting people. You even have people following you back. Now what?
Of course, you only have so much time in a day. Like any communications medium, Twitter could easily become a waste of time if you’re not careful. What follows are three easy ways to use Twitter to improve your business, increase your networking opportunities, and interact with your customers… (page 9)

Software Marketing and Website Artwork
by Al Harberg
There are a lot of theories about the effectiveness of photos, drawings, and other illustrations on software developers’ web sites. For example, some microISVs believe that including stock photographs is a great idea, while others believe that including these pictures would hurt their software marketing efforts.
I’d like to discuss some of the ideas of David Ogilvy, a giant in the field of advertising… (page 11)

ASP Member News
Erik M. Pelton & Associates Reaches 1,500th U.S. Trademark
Plimus Survey: More ‘Likes’ Matter (page 13)

News & Press Corner
FTC Provides Can-SPAM Video
Sixteen Individuals Arrested in the United States for Alleged Roles in Cyber Attacks (page 14)