Goals for Whitetail Software

In the last year I’ve created two full software products while I learned an incredible amount about software, persistence, business, marketing, deployment, and more. I’ve shifted my efforts from creating applications I think are cool to exploring markets I like by talking to customers and trying to pivot ideas toward what people really want or need. I read Eric Ries and Steve Blank among many others to develop my thinking along those lines. I plan to continue calling, emailing, and speaking with people in my market to improve my products and/or pivot to better ideas. The biggest way I’m going to push in this direction in 2011 is to attend conferences both as an attendee and exhibitor to try and connect with customers in multiple ways. I hope to leverage those trips into relationships and customers that give me real traction and word of mouth for the future. This leads in to the specific things I’d like to accomplish this year with Whitetail Software.

2011 Goals

  1. 10 Whitetail Scout (Harvest & Observation Records) Customers
  2. 100 Whitetail Census Surveys
  3. 2-3 posts per month on this blog and on Managing Whitetail
  4. Develop a product that helps people find hunting leases
  5. Integrate all products with Amazon Payments and PayPal
  6. Develop How-To and help videos for the products as a FAQ
  7. Begin a newsletter across Whitetail Software offerings
  8. Experiment with Census pricing and bundling
  9. Relaunch the improved version of Whitetail Scout
  10. Attend 2 or more industry conferences to talk to customers and prospects
  11. Experiment with Organic SEO Content at scale

Conditional on Feedback

  1. OSS project extracting my Mechanical Turk and trust system code into a Django app
  2. AJAX and new features for Whitetail Scout
  3. Develop a site that serves as a directory for the industry similar to Cattle Pages

I’m just getting started on my sojourn to build my own software enterprise from scratch but I have already learned quite a bit in a plethora of categories.  I think one important lesson that you can continually relearn is persistence. Things that have helped me stay the course include support from my wife, a long term perspective on the effort I put into Whitetail Software, and staying focused on the immediate and long term goals as motivation. I think knowing where you want to be in five years and what you think needs to happen this week to get closer to that are critical to accomplishing anything of scale. If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.