Saturday, December 29, 2007

First Sale!

I'm not sure I really expected a sale until after New Years because:

a) Version 1.0 doesn't do that much
b) No marketing yet besides some small AdWords tests.
c) I just noticed some bugs that could really put off new users
d) It's Christmas time, so no one is buying.

But on Christmas Eve someone bought the first copy. I'll take that as a promising sign given the above facts.

I'll be working hard all weekend to try to market the New Years Resolution angle and fix some of the small problems, and hopefully get out a major feature or two.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Well, technically I released version 1.0 of BudgetSimple for Windows last Sunday night. But being the bad blogger that I am, I haven't found the time to post about it. I decided to just release early. It didn't have quite all the features I wanted, but it seemed pretty bug free and functional, so I figured I might as well get the search engine juice flowing, and start getting feedback.

I started by just adding a link from, and then sent an email to the top 20 most frequent users of the online version. From there I gathered my list of over 5,000 BudgetSimple users, and emailed some of those that stopped using it a long time ago.

To get feedback/bug testing, I approached it like this. Everyone can download the trial, and if you want a free copy, just write back with any feedback at all. I figured only people who like the software will bother writing back, and plus they would give me hopefully valuable feedback.

I've emailed about 2% of my users to far and I have to admit the results couldn't be better. Quite a few people took me up on my offer, and had great things to say about the new version. A few people reported bugs, and did a really great job about helping me track them down. Compared to Chimney Sweeps, this group of users is much easier to work with. It seems most of BudgetSimple's users are mothers, people with debt, and housewives. Which is a pretty broad spectrum of people, but it's a group you might stereotype as being computer illiterate, but so far every user has been very savvy and helpful. I've ended up releases 4 minor bug fix releases. I plan a minor feature release in two weeks.

I also started an AdWords campaign, just to test the water. As I posted over at BoS, it didn't seem like it was working at all, but now I think Google's display is just broken. I can see that I am getting impressions and clicks from my Account Snapshot, but the campaign pages still show zero impressions. This weekend I hope to get the BudgetSimple blog back up and maybe have a nice post written.

I also put out a PAD file. I found this to be fairly useless in the past, but I have a feeling I just need to play with it more. And yes, I've already won many awards from the download sites ;P.

If you want to try this early version, and get some free budget software, you are welcome to download it yourself, and feedback gets a free license! :)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


I've began what I like to call "friends and family beta testing" on the desktop edition of BudgetSimple. That means it's pretty much ready to go to a general audience, but I want to make sure there's nothing horribly wrong with the program, so I have people I know, but who may not be interested in the software, install it. A couple of bugs and suggestions have been found so far, but it looks like I'll be ready for a first round of beta testers this weekend.

Those of you following the schedule may notice that's about two weeks beyond my original goal. Luckily there was no real reason for my goal except a month seemed interesting. I do find that software projects are usually easy to complete the first 80%, and then the last 20% drags on for a while. I think this is probably because developers do the easy or fun things first, and then take on the big challenges at the end. I've made sure to drop anything for this version that I thought isn't absolutely essential for version 1.0. It kills me to hear the stories of people taking YEARS to write their 1.0 product, but then again they are usually writing much more complicated software.

This week I added the least important "Must have" feature to the app, the license key system. I spent about an hour on it, so obviously I'm not too concerned about cracks, I just want to motivate people to buy the software. I don't believe most people are capable of finding cracked software, and if they do, I'm happy they can balance their budget and maybe be able to buy something in the future ;).

I expect the beta test to take about a week, during which I should start on the website, and e-commerce portion of things. My absolute drop dead goal for this to all be working is Christmas. I have a feeling a lot of people make New Years resolutions about having a balanced budget.