View Full Version : software design
01-30-2011, 03:00 PM
I'm from Ireland. I have an idea for a muse and it involves designing software and selling it through Cd Roms. I don't really know anything about this kind of thing. I was wondering where is the best place to get this done for a low price. The product is basically a CD Rom with info on it and which is interactive.
Is there any benefit for the customer because of being on a cd rom and not fi. in a website?
01-31-2011, 01:49 PM
Yes I think it gives a wider customer base for the product. Plus most if not all similar products in the area are on CD's. I'm looking for someone who can design the software. Can you outsource this kind of thing?
You can outsource software development via a number of sites (Elance (http://www.elance.com/), vWorker (http://www.vworker.com/), Guru (http://www.guru.com/), oDesk (http://www.odesk.com), etc.). The key will be to be able to clearly specify your requirements in clear and precise language that the developers will understand so that they build what you want and you can unambiguously verify that they have completed their tasks.
Take a look at these sites and look for developers who have verifiable experience with creating interactive media that can be loaded on websites and/or CDs.
01-31-2011, 07:31 PM
As someone who develops software I'd stay far far away from CD's.
You can get the exact same thing done through a web app or download, you can roll out updates MUCH faster and be a LOT more flexible if it's a download or web app and your overhead is a lot smaller.
There are almost no benefits to putting software on CD's anymore... especially with everyone having broadband and laptops and netbooks without CD rom drives becoming more mainstream.
Read "Rework" by Jason Fried. He owns 37 Signals, the company that has done "Basecamphq.com" it gives a very good overview on the software development & marketing process. I've read it half a dozen times.
01-31-2011, 08:02 PM
Thanks for the replies! About putting software on CD's, do a lot of consumer not still prefer info products on CD's as opposed to downloading. The product I have in mind would include info but it would also be interactive as it includes tests that the customer takes and would get feedback on. Would this not be better on a CD as I'm also planning to set price in the 70 to 80 euro range (which the customer might want a hard copy in return for)? Also is it worth patenting or copywriting such a product?
01-31-2011, 08:16 PM
I used to be very pro-cd's when it came to music and software, but I've converted. It's easy enough to burn your own backup copy if you need to, but to be able to download and be running (or listening) in seconds is just awesome!
And yes, I've spent $200 on a download-only software. No regrets. As long as you're customer portal is good enough to allow them to go back in and re-download if needed, there's no problem at all.
If you're looking at developing an interactive solution (graphical? text only?) a good development team should be able to deploy what you want on both a website and CD with minimal to no additional coding necessary. You can even make this one of your requirements and see how this affects the price.
I would also suggest you consider deploying as an app for the iTunes and Android markets; more people want to get their learning through a tablet and/or smartphone and enjoy the interactive learning experience on these devices.
01-31-2011, 10:30 PM
Thanks that's really helpful! Can you also give me some advice on setting up a website? What's the best way to register a website address and set it up and running? At the moment I'm considering selling it as a download, CD (for extra cost) and as an app (btw how do you do this for itunes and android?).
02-01-2011, 09:24 PM
I created and sold a software product via physical CD. It looked really fantastic, we put it in nice DVD cases (get the better quality ones - they don't smell as bad - really!). High quality printed CD labels, not the cheap ones (this makes a massive difference in perception of quality). But there's a lot of work in packaging and posting them out if you get a lot of orders (a good problem). Making sure you don't print off too many of v1.3 when a showstopper bug may require v1.4 and you end up with a lot of wasted stock.
We also sold the software via download, and that was a whole bunch simpler.
The reason we sold a physical copy is because our target demographic were older folks, 60+. We also needed to redistribute .NET components which most people didn't need, but are a 3-400MB download if you are running XP (explain that one to a non-techie 72 year old!).
I learned a lot of lessons from it, and recommend you only ship physical product if you have to, i.e. shipping *lots* of data to the customer, or demographic reasons, or they don't have web access (not ideal customers!).
As long as you're customer portal is good enough to allow them to go back in and re-download if needed, there's no problem at all.
That's a crucial point, particularly if you're using some sort of licensing solution. I'm a developer, so I wrote a custom licensing solution, but the off the shelf solutions were quite expensive - it can be a bigger issue than first realised.
Also is it worth patenting or copywriting such a product?
Anything you create is automatically copyright to you (unless you assign it away as part of a contract, etc) so you don't need to do anything to get that. You don't even need to write "Copyright 2011 YourName" though it's useful to do that so if someone steals it they can't claim ignorance.
A patent can be applied for once the following conditions apply:
Must be new - not known to be found anywhere in world
Must not have been exposed to the public
Must contain an inventive step - something that is not obvious to those
skilled in the particular art.
Your product may not qualify on face value. However, it is probably possible to discover some small element that would qualify and that can be used to obtain a 'patent pending' status which prevents anyone from replicating it for at least 18 months. You can also use the status to avail of tax breaks, royalties and R & D offsets. Cost is approx €2,000.
Liam Birkett from DCEB (Dublin City Enterprise Board) is the guy we got this advice off. You'd need to mention your Dublin address or connection when getting in touch with him and you might be able to get a free consultation with him.
Regards outsourcing the software development, it's not as easy as it could be. I've outsourced €200k+ of software and web projects, to folks on Elance, Scriptlance, odesk, rentacoder and elsewhere. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don't. Most often you get what you pay for - the better developers/companies are always more pricey. Planning is key - know as much about your product as possible, sketch out the pages/forms/windows of every step, mock it up in something like Balsamiq if you can. Get a partially working prototype from your developer before moving forward with the full project.
Hope this helps. I'm based in Mayo but often in Dublin if you want to meet for a coffee or a pint & chat.
Software can only be patented in the USA.... It is a waste of money and effort.
02-02-2011, 04:42 PM
Thanks for your post. My product was going to be software that teaches Irish sign language. I was going to use a format similar to the CD for the driving theory test, sort of dictionary/multiple choice test format. Customers would be able to go through the dictionary and get feedback on their progress through tests. I would only use the most common everyday words and grammer, rather than the entire language. A sort of starting kit for learning the language. There is already one of these for American sign language that can be downloaded. But now I'm not sure that there would be enough customers to make it profitable. What do you think?
02-02-2011, 08:07 PM
Hmm. Hard to know if that'd be profitable. Let's do some back of a beermat calculations... (this ignores Ferriss test the muse principle - see last paragraph).
There's 5,000 deaf people in Ireland (http://greenbowdeaf.com/isl-info.html). Let's say each knows on average 5 people who might want to learn ISL to communicate better with them. That's 25,000 who "would like to learn",but that's not necessarily the full language Of that, let's say 30% would be interested in paying for a CD based course - 7,500. Let's pretend they're willing to pay €60 quid each. That gives you a potential maximum earning of €450,000, assuming you fill the market.
Let's say development of the product is €20,000 plus 3 months of your time (may or may not count this in cost calculations).
Stock costs (this is from a real quote):
Product: Data CD’s
Case: DVD – Amaray Style cases
Design: DVD outside wrap
Data: Copied to disc in batches as required (I
propose in 5 batches of 100 each as required)
We are to supply a master copy of data on disc
Cost: €780.00, including VAT
Let's say for 5000 units (ten times more that above quote) that would cost you only 5 times as much because of economy of scale: €3,900. 25,000 units costs €19,500, but you can order in smaller batches as you go along so won't have to front it all, it also assumes you sell 100% of market.
Ok, so total costs roughly €40,000 plus 3 months of time in development, then ongoing sales. Of the upfront costs you'd be risking* about €25,000 near enough (this is all the development plus some of the physical stock). Return on investment is somewhere between zero and €450,000, maybe you'd be happy with 20-30% market** - let's call it 30% to make it a nice round €150,000.
Based on that, €150,000 and costs of €30-40,000 you might earn €110-120k for a year or two's work.
First off, if any of my back-of-a-beermat assumptions are off I may be 2 or 3 orders of magnitude wrong in either direction :)
* Secondly, if you go the 4HWW "Test the Muse First" way, then you will end up only spending $50-100 on AdWords and a few hundred on a website which leads to a "sorry, we have no stock" page.
** If you already have contacts in Irish deaf community you may be way ahead of the curve here, if you have none you may be further behind on this figure.
02-03-2011, 03:20 PM
Could you give me a breakdown of the costs of development? Is there any way to minimise or lower them as I have limited funds? Perhaps by providing a design to copy?
The cost of stock sounds pretty good, much lower than I was expecting. I'm not sure I could sell it only through a website, I would probably have to advertise through deaf newsletters, on campuses, health services, deaf communities, etc. I'm hard of hearing myself and I'm starting to learn ISL, I'm not really a part of any deaf scene's but I do have a couple of contacts that might be able to help me advertise it. Even at a lower price 40 to 50 euros I'd say it would still be profitable (drivers theory test CD is about 20 euros, if that provides any point of reference at all).
02-03-2011, 06:07 PM
Hard to give a breakdown, it depends on the exact nature of the product. It might be possible to reduce it if you can get the software that say the ASL guys use. Without seeing that I'd have no idea, the estimate above is very much ballpark :)
It might be possible to use some of the fairly standard e-learning type components that are out there. I custom built an e-learning system one time, but with the 2nd version we were able to use off-the-shelf components. Have a read of the wikipedia page on elearning (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elearning).
Download the trial from here and see what it's like: http://testpro.atrixware.com/packages.php - the full priced version might be expensive, but if it lets you do what it needs, might be just what you're looking for.
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