Sunday, September 20, 2020

One positive result of last week is the new What is a Lino site? page. Instead of trying to explain the whole Lino framework, it explains what one Lino site is. This page is not finished, but it was a clearly missing piece.

But after meditating on my first gig draft (Thursday, September 17, 2020), I am afraid that it is far from being usable. Things don’t work like that on fiverr. The fiverr model works for selling clearly defined services with a concrete outcome for a price that is known in advance. But my sales strategy is fundamentally different. If an interested customer would send me a specification with 50 pages of text describing their needs, how could I promise to satisfy them for 200€?

What is so different with my sales strategy?

I sell long-term collaboration for projects where things are not predictable, where even the customer doesn’t know exactly what they want. New customers start with me because it costs almost nothing to give it a try. A few hundred euros is very cheap when you are you are looking for a software application that satisfies the needs of a business with more than five employees. Writing a fully binding functional specification for a new application costs much more than this.

The first step of a Lino project is to find an organization who would be happy with a Lino. I am limited to projects that can be implemented by a single developer. The next step is to get a “sufficient” overview of their needs. One or two interview meetings with the “right” person. Based on that overview I can write a prototype that is “good enough” to “convince” them to continue the project. The prototype can take me several days of work and more phone calls for clarifying things. I actually don’t want these 200€; actually I am ready to write prototypes for free, they are part of my sales offer. It is more efficient to simply start working instead of trying to make detailed plans about how much it will cost and how much time it will take.

A Lino project requires one employee of the customer who knows what’s needed and who is motivated to work with me. That person must communicate with me. She must play with the prototype and explain me what’s missing. And when I present my next version, she must find time and motivation for a next iteration of playing around and reporting things that need more work. This is the “dirty” work of software development.