SIC 2007 Diary, Day Three

The last full day of the SIC 2007 conference gets underway.

Saturday started slowly (breakfast: none), but built to a grand climax. The day would end with a banquet. However, unlike previous years when there was a lighter schedule for attendees to prepare (in my case, nap) for the award ceremony, this year featured a full complement of sessions. Of these, there were three that caught my interest, so I doubled my session time for the conference.

The first time slot included a session entitled, Your Micro ISV Business. One half was “General business advice”, presented by the always entertaining Phil Schnyder, of askSam Systems. The other half was “Getting things done in your micro-ISV”, by Bob Walsh, of 47 Hats, the man who literally wrote the book on the topic of Micro-ISVs. This whole session contained some good information, though most of it was not new to me. However, Bob recommended the book, Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Getting Things Done, by David Allen, which will probably be a worthwhile read.

The next time slot was a presentation by Gary Elfring, of CD-Ship, and Doug Caviness, of, on Successful Software Packaging. This was a repeat performance for Gary, who again provided loads of excellent information on packaging options, including little tips such as using a CD mailer for branding/marketing, using the CD itself to cross promote for other products, and adding “Made in U.S.A.” to the packaging (if it was, of course). Honestly, my notes only included the actions I should take, and I neglected to write down the rationale for the last item; I am sure there was a good reason, though.

Over the lunch break, I had decided not to attend the luncheon of the ESC (Educational Software Cooperative), which organization nevertheless deserves a mention here. Instead, I went to lunch at a franchise burrito joint with a number of friends, including fellow ASP Directors, Mitchell Vincent, of K Software, and Brandon Staggs, of StudyLamp Software. The company was excellent, the conversation was not related to software, and my burrito was far tastier than anything either local franchise of the same restaurant creates near home. Fortunately, the session after lunch held less attraction for me, so I could relax and enjoy.

The penultimate time block featured one of the longer-titled sessions, Independent Innovation – The self-funded, sustainable, live-anywhere business, presented by Michael Lehman, the single employee of Microsoft who is paid to actually care about independent developers like us. (He also happens to be quite a nice person.) His talk included several online resources, which I will check out and, if worthy, blog about at a later date. However, he also offered one book recommendation (that I intend to follow), Change or Die, by Alan Deutschman, which is apparently a 241-page elaboration on his Fast Company article of the same name.

I skipped the final session of the day in order to “prepare” for the banquet (even though I buck the trend and do not dress up for the event… much). I also skipped the first quarter hour of the usual 30-45 minute wait before the doors to the banquet hall open. Once the doors did open, the feasting and entertainment commenced in short order.

The Master of Ceremonies was Rob Rosenberger, who was as entertaining as ever. After a short welcome, the food service began. The meal was fairly good, and my neighbor’s dislike of asparagus meant more for me. As attendees were finishing their desserts, the comedian, Willie Ferrell (“no, not Will Ferrell“), began his act, which was mostly improvisation working with (and in) the audience. He even picked on me a little bit when he found out I was from Michigan, having me show exactly where on the palm of my right hand, as we are wont to do in this state (at least, this is, those of us from the Lower Peninsula). All in all, his was a funny act.

After the comedian, and a short break, came the real purpose of the evening, the presentation of the 2007 Shareware Industry Awards. As mentioned previously, our game, Pretty Good MahJongg, was nominated in the ‘Best Non-Action Game’ category. In fact, there were four authors at our table that had products nominated for an SIA (in four different categories), so there was some anticipation…

The first presentations made were the People’s Choice Awards, which do not have nominees announced, so there can be surprises. Dan Hite won the ‘Best Vertical Market Program or Utility’ for his Auction Sentry Deluxe, a program for eBay auction tracking and bidding/sniping. This was not a huge surprise, as this product was one of three SIA nominees in the ‘Best Hobby or Personal Interest’ category. One surprise was that no People’s Choice Award was given in any game category. Bummer. A bigger surprise, and a better story, was that Brandon Staggs, who decided not to attend the banquet, won the People’s Choice Award for ‘Best Hobby or Personal Interest’, in absentia, for his SwordSearcher Bible Software.

After that, the Shareware Industry Award winners, voted on by our fellow shareware authors, were announced. Alas, Dan (just to my left) did not win an SIA to match his previous award, but Terry Jepson (to my immediate right) did win for ‘Best Educational Program or Game’ with his WISCO Word Power. Our fortunes were good (between two other award winners), too, so our table garnered 3 awards on the evening, although the one I “accepted” had actually already been sent to Springfield for Goodsol Development. (You can be certain that I will post more about our SIA later.)

The rest of the evening was something of a blur, and it seemed that most conference attendees retired early, so I followed suit.

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