By Bob Walsh
Over at the Business of Software today, MCJ posted a very interesting question:
Would you pay for a widget?
I think there’s a lot of potential in widgets for micro-ISVs in a couple of ways:
As connectors to micro-nitche web services. See http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/28326 – old radio shows (old radio shows?? – hey, I like them!) There’s a widget for the 3% of the world that use Macs and zip for the rest of us. I’d pay $15 on the spot for this widget/service for a year.
As connectors to your own product. Let me pick on Andy Brice here for a moment. I could see him writing a Google or Vista widget that automatically tracks when people RSVP. He adds it as a extra item that he sells with PerfectTablePlan, and gives a way a lite version that brings him a lot of attention.
The deeper development question is, what kind of widget?:
- Google Sidebar
- Windows Live
- Who know what else…
I think you need a development strategy that answers yes to as many of these as possible, and a multi-headed marketing strategy that at the least gives each community its own landing page on your web site.
There’s an even deeper issue here micro-ISVs can benefit from: the demassification of attention. Just as television has gone from <100 channels to >100,000 on the net, the number of “channels” into the average person’s PC or Mac is exploding. Widgets up to recently have been in the “what do I do with them” category. But, in my opinion, a well designed family of widgets across platforms, with as much of a shared codebase as possible, with a shared “marketingbase” as well, offers micro-ISVs some excellent opportunities.