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What to do with old never-launched desktop project?


#1

I’m hoping to get some up-to-date perspective on a quandary of mine: what to do with an old software project I worked on, off and on, for more time than I’d care to admit (years).

It’s desktop software in the personal development domain, definitely B2C, tested on Windows and Linux but could be made to run on OSX (if I bought a used Mac). I started off as a non-coder and taught myself enough to get the project to this point, worked on it 100% just me through some tough years, and then for various reasons let it go into never-launched abandonware.

Checking just now, it seems I have about 60 bugs left, but would like to maybe add a few more features (though I know the wisdom on this is launch, not add more). But even just these 60 bugs would probably take me 6 months of committed effort to do on my own (history has shown that bug-fixing often uncovers new bugs, so it’s like kill 3 and uncover 2 more). And my life has other areas that need serious attention. In fact, after years of saying, “this has to be done by December 31st” I no longer trust my ability much to follow through with that.

I’d love to be able to say this project amounted to something. But I first got the idea for this so long ago that the tech scene was a completely different ecosystem (pre-iPhone!). I’m wondering if desktop, B2C, low-price ($20-$40?) software sold via a website and payment processor is still viable to make even humble side money? ($200/mo?).

If this forum is only for SaaS or mobile apps now, pardon my bumbling, but I wasn’t sure where else to ask. Thanks for any insight!


#2
  1. What’s the product? That would make it much easier to give advice

  2. There are plenty of people making a decent living selling B2C desktop software. I stand before you as evidence!

  3. It is cheaper and easier than ever to run a website that sells your desktop software. It will cost you close to nothing except some time to make your product as it is now available to download and buy.


#3

Are you familiar with the term ‘minimum viable product’? If I were you I’d get to that - something that runs and does what it promises, but without extra features and dare I say without polish. Prioritize the bugs, if you there’s a bug in a feature that many will not use, nix the feature.

Remember, you could post it on a website as it is RIGHT NOW, and if nobody downloads it, it doesn’t matter that it’s unfinished! Not saying you should do exactly that, but you get the point, if a tree falls in the woods…

If you get traction, excellent, you’ll be motivated and validated to spend time getting it polished.


#4

Tell you this: writing code is the simplest part. I can produce an enormous amount of a quality code (and being paid for that in consulting very well), but I yet to see my first dollar coming from online sales – because it is so different and so hard.

So forget about fixing the bugs (unless they make the app totally unusable, not just ugly), build a site and learn the marketing stuff. If you get people to your site and then start to download and buy – then you can return to the code and fix it.


#5

100% agree, get a landing page and marketing started to see if there’s traction before spending any more dev time. Even if it’s just collected emails and testing interest, it could save you a lot of time and aggravation.