Software Success Story: Paessler
It started out in 1996; Dirk Paessler
was looking for a load testing application. Unable
to find one, he wrote his own tool. Within two
weeks of cleaning it up and creating a web page,
he had two customers send him $ 20.00 for the
program. Dirk ran his shareware business part
time for 4 years. Today with six applications,
Paessler Software demands Dirk's full attention.
With five full and ten part-time employees Paessler
software has grown into a very successful business.
Having worked in the tech industry
during the dot-com crash Dirk was determined that
Paessler would grow not from venture capital funding
but by reinvesting profits into marketing.
The following is Dirk's input for
Q - What factors or marketing
ideas do you attribute your success to?
- Being prepared for a long run
= if you do not have a six digit marketing budget
for the start, start small and take time to grow.
- Growing only from your own power
= no banks, no venture capitals etc., then you
will always have the full control over your company.
I worked for a dot-com until it crashed in 2001
like so many others, and I definitely know that
this is not the way to go...
- Having niche products perfect
for marketing via search engines (we don't find
customers, they find us)
- Having learnt how to create a
good "shareware" app (good registration benefits,
good but not annoying nag screens, etc), e.g.
at the shareware conferences (a big tip for newbies!)
- Having a professional agency or
at least a good graphics guy create corporate
identity/graphics and the website look & feel
as early as possible = nobody pays $100 to a company
whose website looks like "designed with notepad"
= tip: Try to find a partner on www.elance.com,
We found several capable and well priced graphics
guys from eastern Europe and Russia there.
- Having a good, globally minded
registration company for your online sales (we
- fast and knowledgable support
_and_ sales replies
Q - What are some of the obstacles
that you feel you have had to overcome in order
to become a success?
- Inventing the right product.
- Getting the message out: It took
3 years until we found a company like Dave Collins'
www.sharewarepromotions.com. We have been working
with them ever since. It took another 3 years
until we hired a part time PR guy. Don't wait
- Being ready to give some of your
hard worked code away for free (for most apps
we offer freeware version to get people hooked),
but this gives you more downloads
Q - Has your growth been
hampered by the fact you are not located int he
- Not that I know. But any non-US
company you MUST make sure that their websites
"looks" and "reads" American. If your English
is not American or not even good, get somebody
who is a native speaker. And…offer dollar pricing!
Q - What advice would you
give to developers starting out?
- For the first months and years,
make sure you can make your living off something
else. This will give you a relaxed mood that is
vital for success. If you press for success it
won't come! If your first product does not sky
rocket, don't optimize it for years create the
next one! We always experienced the biggest sales
increases from new products, not with the step
from version 12.4 to 13.0 of a product (although
it is necessary to constantly refine your product!).
At some point you will hit the right one!
Additional information about Paessler Software
can be found at http://www.paessler.com
About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for NotePage,
a company specializing in alphanumeric paging,
SMS and wireless messaging software solutions.
Other sites by Sharon can be found at http://www.softwaremarketingresource.com
, and http://www.small-business-software.net