Tag Archives: shipping

Never ship, never fail

Andy Brice had a good post recently about shipping:

“Continually abandoning work in progress for a new idea is also a form of cowardice. If I never ship, then I can’t fail. But I can’t succeed either. And I won’t learn anything useful from a string of half-finished products that never shipped.”

I’ve been reminding myself of this to combat any self-doubt as Jon and I prepare Sunlit 1.0 for release. There is plenty to worry about: bugs we might have missed, potential confusion about how sync works, whether free with in-app purchase was the right call. But I’m proud that we took an idea from well over a year ago, prototyped it, rewrote it, and refined it, finally building it into an app that will ship.

Wrapping up the Wii Giveaway

Sending away second Wii After sitting on a shelf in my office for 2 months, unopened and unloved, I finally shipped off the Nintendo Wii today to the lucky winner. I was initially worried because he didn’t respond until well into the second day after I notified him, but he was pretty excited (“You’ve made my holiday”) and I’m glad it could ship out before Christmas. The picture here is in the car before I went into the UPS store to fill the box with peanuts.

The promotion took a surprising amount of effort, but it was fun and definitely worthwhile. There were a total of 2447 unique submissions (1925 for the email form, and 522 from Twitter). Of those, over 1/3 agreed to sign up for my annual Riverfold Software newsletter. I consider that alone a success, although until I look at the stats more closely it’s not clear what percentage of potential-customers are actually using Macs. My “Wii Twitter account”:http://twitter.com/wii also doubled to about 300 followers.

Although sales were initially flat, both “TUAW”:http://www.tuaw.com/2007/12/05/wii-transfer-maker-giving-away-a-wii/ and “Ars Technica”:http://arstechnica.com/journals/apple.ars/2007/12/06/win-a-wii-to-go-with-your-wii-transfer-for-mac ran nice stories on the promotion. I also “wrote a press release”:http://riverfold.com/software/wiitransfer/press/giveaway.html, with the idea of hitting some of the bigger gaming sites for the second week of the contest. In the end I decided not to, because I wanted to focus on Mac users, and because frankly there were plenty of submissions and I was burned out on the process.

The contest easily paid for itself, but the extra sales really weren’t that significant. I have a database that tracks referrers through to the actual purchase, so I noticed an increase of only about 10-20 copies out of the 100 sales for the month so far. Part of that is no doubt the catch-22 of giving away hardware that is required for your software product, but I know that long-term there will be a benefit to the wider exposure.

Mistakes? I should have made the whole promotion last just a day or two, and hyped it before launching instead. I also should have required that Twitter users follow Wii before entering, which would have boosted those followers and also greatly simplified tracking submissions (replies were spread over 3 RSS feeds and 33 iChat log transcripts). Relatively minor complaints, though, overall.

To everyone who provided feedback on the idea, thanks. Maybe next year I’ll implement some of the more interesting promotion ideas I heard.