Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Software development democratization and eClub

I am preparing for the next season of eClub thinking what is the best way to introduce our students to the art of starting their first own business. To experience the joy of having customers who use your applications. In this blog I will focus on business on the Internet, which thanks to the technology development got very democratic and therefore it is very easy to enter for all of us.
Yes, we are living in a great time. The cost of a notebook is constantly decreasing and every student owns one. Beside great ideas and commitment the computer is probably the only required prerequisite to start an Internet business. Most of the other required components are available very affordably or for free. What more, to buy the computer you need your savings, but to run the business in the cloud you can pay as you go and only for what you use, no upfront investment is required. It scales as you need. The cloud is spreading (this is meant positively) and the web services as AWS, Google App Engine, Heroku are easy to access and use for hosting your apps. You can find several services (Bitnami, TurnkeyFluxflex, on the web enabling you to install well know open source packages as LAMP stack, Wordpress, Joomla, MySQL, Moodle, RedMine, etc with a single click. Check also the Rightscale one of the most popular tools for running cloud apps. To organize your office (email, calendar, documents, ...) you have a choice of Office 365, Google Apps, Tungle, Zoho,... To complete the company administration you can find many different accounting systems and project managing packages.
A successful business needs bright developers and tools to create the best product, but the most important is the sale. With the advent of cloud many business and marketing channels have emerged in the cloud helping you in reaching your customers and selling the product. Well known are the iPhone and Android markets offering hundreds of thousands of small apps. Google and Apple introduced Web Stores. SaleForce is also very active. These channels are helping developers to offer their applications to customers, sell them and collect money for a reasonable share on the sale. If you do not like the big shots, you can  proceed by your own, there are on the web organizations taking care of the whole sales lifecycle handling the credit card, issuing SW license keys, handling tax world wide, for example Fastspring. Monitoring customers and marketing is the next step in growing the business. Very popular is the Google Analytics. It will give you very good insight to you apps and web traffic and help you with effective marketing. Many other services exist for advertising your product.
All this is available to everybody and it means it is very easy to start today than ever before. Most of the students are very good programmers and have great ideas for new applications. eClub is here to motivate and empower students to make their dreams true. eClub is subsidized by the CTU MediaLab foundation supporting the best students teams with scholarship. You will meet experienced people to discuss and advise you with the business development.  At the end let me share with you my secret wish: I would like to have by the end of the academic year 11/12 at least one alumni team who will attract thousands of users to their new application.
Join us in the next season of the eClub. Start to work with us. We are opening in September. Watch our blog and web pages. Get first batch of customers, …

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