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

Chromium 75.0.3770.142 - Fast and stable...
Chromium is an open-source browser project that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all Internet users to experience the web. Version 75.0.3770.142: Release notes were... Read more
Viber 11.1.0 - Send messages and make fr...
Viber lets you send free messages and make free calls to other Viber users, on any device and network, in any country! Viber syncs your contacts, messages and call history with your mobile device, so... Read more
Wireshark 3.0.3 - Network protocol analy...
Wireshark is one of the world's foremost network protocol analyzers, and is the standard in many parts of the industry. It is the continuation of a project that started in 1998. Hundreds of... Read more
DEVONthink Pro 3.0beta4 - Knowledge base...
DEVONthink Pro is your essential assistant for today's world, where almost everything is digital. From shopping receipts to important research papers, your life often fills your hard drive in the... Read more
Adobe Creative Cloud 4.9.0.512 - Access...
Adobe Creative Cloud costs $20.99/month for a single app, or $52.99/month for the entire suite. Introducing Adobe Creative Cloud desktop applications, including Adobe Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC... Read more
SketchUp 19.1.174 - Create 3D design con...
SketchUp is an easy-to-learn 3D modeling program that enables you to explore the world in 3D. With just a few simple tools, you can create 3D models of houses, sheds, decks, home additions,... Read more
ClamXav 3.0.12 - Virus checker based on...
ClamXav is a popular virus checker for OS X. Time to take control ClamXAV keeps threats at bay and puts you firmly in charge of your Mac’s security. Scan a specific file or your entire hard drive.... Read more
BetterTouchTool 3.151 - Customize multi-...
BetterTouchTool adds many new, fully customizable gestures to the Magic Mouse, Multi-Touch MacBook trackpad, and Magic Trackpad. These gestures are customizable: Magic Mouse: Pinch in / out (zoom)... Read more
FontExplorer X Pro 6.0.9 - Font manageme...
FontExplorer X Pro is optimized for professional use; it's the solution that gives you the power you need to manage all your fonts. Now you can more easily manage, activate and organize your... Read more
Dropbox 77.4.131 - Cloud backup and sync...
Dropbox is an application that creates a special Finder folder that automatically syncs online and between your computers. It allows you to both backup files and keeps them up-to-date between systems... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Upcoming visual novel Arranged shines a...
If you’re in the market for a new type of visual novel designed to inform and make you think deeply about its subject matter, then Arranged by Kabuk Games could be exactly what you’re looking for. It’s a wholly unique take on marital traditions in... | Read more »
TEPPEN guide - The three best decks in T...
TEPPEN’s unique take on the collectible card game genre is exciting. It’s just over a week old, but that isn’t stopping lots of folks from speculating about the long-term viability of the game, as well as changes and additions that will happen over... | Read more »
Intergalactic puzzler Silly Memory serve...
Recently released matching puzzler Silly Memory is helping its fans with their intergalactic journeys this month with some very special offers on in-app purchases. In case you missed it, Silly Memory is the debut title of French based indie... | Read more »
TEPPEN guide - Tips and tricks for new p...
TEPPEN is a wild game that nobody asked for, but I’m sure glad it exists. Who would’ve thought that a CCG featuring Capcom characters could be so cool and weird? In case you’re not completely sure what TEPPEN is, make sure to check out our review... | Read more »
Dr. Mario World guide - Other games that...
We now live in a post-Dr. Mario World world, and I gotta say, things don’t feel too different. Nintendo continues to squirt out bad games on phones, causing all but the most stalwart fans of mobile games to question why they even bother... | Read more »
Strategy RPG Brown Dust introduces its b...
Epic turn-based RPG Brown Dust is set to turn 500 days old next week, and to celebrate, Neowiz has just unveiled its biggest and most exciting update yet, offering a host of new rewards, increased gacha rates, and a brand new feature that will... | Read more »
Dr. Mario World is yet another disappoin...
As soon as I booted up Dr. Mario World, I knew I wasn’t going to have fun with it. Nintendo’s record on phones thus far has been pretty spotty, with things trending downward as of late. [Read more] | Read more »
Retro Space Shooter P.3 is now available...
Shoot-em-ups tend to be a dime a dozen on the App Store, but every so often you come across one gem that aims to shake up the genre in a unique way. Developer Devjgame’s P.3 is the latest game seeking to do so this, working as a love letter to the... | Read more »
Void Tyrant guide - Guildins guide
I’ve still been putting a lot of time into Void Tyrant since it officially released last week, and it’s surprising how much stuff there is to uncover in such a simple-looking game. Just toray, I finished spending my Guildins on all available... | Read more »
Tactical RPG Brown Dust celebrates the s...
Neowiz is set to celebrate the summer by launching a 2-month long festival in its smash-hit RPG Brown Dust. The event kicks off today, and it’s divided into 4 parts, each of which will last two weeks. Brown Dust is all about collecting, upgrading,... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Verizon is offering a 50% discount on iPhone...
Verizon is offering 50% discounts on Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus models though July 24th, plus save 50% on activation fees. New line required. The fine print: “New device payment & new... Read more
Get a new 21″ iMac for under $1000 today at t...
B&H Photo has new 21″ Apple iMacs on sale for up to $100 off MSRP with models available starting at $999. These are the same iMacs offered by Apple in their retail and online stores. Shipping is... Read more
Clearance 2017 15″ 2.8GHz Touch Bar MacBook P...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2017 15″ 2.8GHz Space Gray Touch Bar MacBook Pros available for $1809. Apple’s refurbished price is currently the lowest available for a 15″ MacBook Pro. An standard... Read more
Clearance 12″ 1.2GHz MacBook on sale for $899...
Focus Camera has clearance 12″ 1.2GHz Space Gray MacBooks available for $899.99 shipped. That’s $400 off Apple’s original MSRP. Focus charges sales tax for NY & NJ residents only. Read more
Get a new 2019 13″ 2.4GHz 4-Core MacBook Pro...
B&H Photo has new 2019 13″ 2.4GHz MacBook Pros on sale for up to $150 off Apple’s MSRP. Overnight shipping is free to many addresses in the US: – 2019 13″ 2.4GHz/256GB 6-Core MacBook Pro Silver... Read more
AirPods with Wireless Charging Case now on sa...
Amazon has extended their Prime Day savings on Apple AirPods by offering AirPods with the Wireless Charging case for $169.99. That’s $30 off Apple’s MSRP, and it’s the cheapest price available for... Read more
New 2019 15″ MacBook Pros on sale for $200 of...
B&H Photo has the new 2019 15″ 6-Core and 8-Core MacBook Pros on sale for $200 off Apple’s MSRP. Overnight shipping is free to many addresses in the US: – 2019 15″ 2.6GHz 6-Core MacBook Pro Space... Read more
Amazon drops prices, now offers clearance 13″...
Amazon has new dropped prices on clearance 13″ 2.3GHz Dual-Core non-Touch Bar MacBook Pros by $200 off Apple’s original MSRP, with prices now available starting at $1099. Shipping is free. Be sure to... Read more
2018 15″ MacBook Pros now on sale for $500 of...
Amazon has dropped prices on select clearance 2018 15″ 6-Core MacBook Pros to $500 off Apple’s original MSRP. Prices now start at $1899 shipped: – 2018 15″ 2.2GHz Touch Bar MacBook Pro Silver: $1899.... Read more
Price drop! Clearance 12″ 1.2GHz Silver MacBo...
Amazon has dropped their price on the recently-discontinued 12″ 1.2GHz Silver MacBook to $849.99 shipped. That’s $450 off Apple’s original MSRP for this model, and it’s the cheapest price available... Read more

Jobs Board

Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**696259BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Job Category:** Store Associates **Location Number:** 001076-Temecula-Store **Job Description:** The Read more
Business Development Manager, *Apple* Globa...
Business Development Manager, Apple Global Tampa, FL, US Requisition Number:73805 As a Global Apple Business Development Manager at Insight, you proactively Read more
*Apple* Systems Architect/Engineer, Vice Pre...
…its vision to be the world's most trusted financial group. **Summary:** Apple Systems Architect/Engineer with strong knowledge of products and services related to Read more
*Apple* IOS Systems Engineer - Randstad (Uni...
Apple IOS Systems Engineer **job details:** + location:Irvine, CA + salary:$45 - $55 per hour + date posted:Tuesday, July 16, 2019 + job type:Temp to Perm + Read more
Business Development Manager, *Apple* Globa...
Business Development Manager, Apple Global Tampa, FL, US Requisition Number:73805 As a Global Apple Business Development Manager at Insight, you proactively Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.