by Bob Walsh
Two recent posts have turned my mind back toward the subject of widgets and micro-ISVs. A widget is basically a mini application that runs in any number of ways — on your desktop, and Google sidebar, and Windows live, in any number of third-party applications and in both Vista and an Mac OS.
When Steve Rubel at notes something, it’s worth you noting it to. Have a look at this post by Steve, “Major Marketers Cozy Up to Widgets“. And when Richard MacManus at Read/WriteWeb picks up on the same trend, it’s definitely worth spending some time thinking about how this emerging trend relates to your micro-ISV.
Have a look at, or widgets are growing up fast, and by their very nature don’t attract the giant software companies. No one needs or wants Adobe PhotoShop as a widget. But (see below) I could see a widget for this.
I presently say for areas widgets and micro-ISVs play together:

  • The white box widget. It’s easy to forget when you’ve got the mindset of selling directly to customers there is another entirely different way of making money: create an application (or in this case a widget), and let others brand and sell it. White box widget makers like LabPixies are selling widgets to advertisers as a way of delivering their message. Someone has to writing these widgets.
  • The advertising by other means widget. Let’s say you have a micro-ISV application like Andy Brice’s PerfectTablePlan. You could create a Windows Vista widget that would do a small part of your app’s overall functionality, feed it to the Microsoft Vista mega marketing machine and drive a hell of a lot of traffic your way.
  • The Simplify My Life widget. We all need new and better ways of dealing with the rapidly rising levels of complexity in our lives. Widgets, by their limited nature, deliver simplicity when created well. Here’s five seven widgets that I for one would buy and or be willing to install:
    • File backup. As I work away in office, this widget lets me with one click back up things as I create and change them. Notice the one click part – I see the file in say Google sidebar, click it, and I never have to worry about backing it up again.
    • The Make me a Slideshow Widget. take a bunch of shots say on our recent trip to London. Then what? I want to make a nice slideshow in PhotoShop Elements for friends and family, but don’t have the time. What if there was a widget that would let me dump in pics, and some graphically inclined human somewhere out there created the slideshow for me?
    • The CastingWords Widget. I need this one right now! Drag an interview.mp3 file to it, get the transcript back in two days.
    • Fitness/Health/Eating rightLabpixies has done a first generation of the this – give me a place where I can track my calories. The app I would buy? That widget is my online personal trainer portal – I pick the trainer at the web portal, they monitor the food I enter in the widget, the workouts I do and pump encouragement right to my desktop. If you designed this app, you could make money four ways – off of customers who need trainers, trainers who would kill for an easy to use app to manage their clients, advertising and affiliate payments to Amazon groceries/drugs. And by the way, I’ll be your first paying customer.Labpixies calorie counter
    • The Online Spending app. This widget would let me categorize on the fly my online purchases (perfect spot for SSE if Amazon and others ever adopt it).
    • The Media Tracker Widget. As my entertainment time is getting spread out between mainstream TV, podcasts and online video, it’s taking longer and longer to decide what I want. A widget that delivered 3 interesting, human edited, picks to me a day from regular TV, podcasts and video would be valuable. We could recycle all those couch potato types into productive members of society again via Amazon Mechanical Turk! 🙂
    • The Romantic Dinner in a kit Widget You want to make a nice meal for your Significant Other, but you’re the pan washer, not the chef in the house. Enter the Instant Romantic Dinner widget, where with one click it pre-populates my Amazon Grocery cart and emails me step by step instructions. In fact, you could run with in any number of directions…
  • The I haven’t thought of it yet Widget. Given all the talent and inventiveness in the micro-ISV community, I will bet there’s plenty of potential widgets above and beyond the present eye candy/coding example level out there. I for one am looking forward to them.

[tags]widgets, gadgets, micro-isv[/tags]

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