I’ve been working for other companies for a long time. At the same time, I’ve also always operated as a Micro Independent Software Vendor (Micro ISV) at DevFoundries. Micro ISVs and innovation are tightly related. The independent work allows experimentation with new technology, create new solutions, and stay on the forefront of interesting technology. This work is usually leveraged at paying engagements.
For example, a client recently was looking to implement a barcode scanner for a native phone app. I had previously built a barcode scanner app for WinRT, Windows Phone 8.1, and Windows 10 (Easy Barcode Scanner Free). This skill was needed to implement their barcode scanner. I was able to rapidly build their cross-platform mobile application quickly because I had already worked through the tricky problems.
Another client, needed an application with many very complex business rules. Testability and maintainability were critical. I used my open source LogicEngine to implement the logic and keep the business rules engine maintainable with easy to run tests.
The revenue from my Micro ISV venture is tiny. I receive about $50/mo across all my apps in the stores. I’ve tried all the models; ad revenue, pay-for-apps, in-app-purchases, and even donations. I never expect to pay my mortgage with my Micro ISV work. These are passion projects or project which could be useful to others. Usually, I look for an unfilled gap for some integration point. My .NET WordPress API client is an example of that.
This experimentation gives me a huge advantage over my competitors as an independent consultant. I’m able to deliver solutions faster because the learning curve on most problems has already been overcome. Also, I’m able to propose alternative solutions to problems which can reduce development time and cost. I never know where these experiments will lead. But, more often than not, they become valuable to delivering a successful product to a client.
Having a Micro ISV lets me innovate in ways I could never do as an employee in a corporate setting. Micro ISVs and innovation go hand-in-hand allowing developers and product owners to experiment with new technologies to benefit customers. I see a future where even large companies have Micro ISV departments which help developers accelerate product delivery but providing alternative solutions which might not have been available.