I have a new software product – V4.0!!!

What is it about small software vendors. Twice in a day, whilst doing some research in the area of idea management software (link to my Google search string), I came across companies selling V4.0 versions of their software. Sounds harmless? Maybe not!

There is an old saying in software. No one buys the first three versions – they only buy Version 4. The reason is that a product needs a time to bake in its features, get customers to really try them out. And a version often means a substantial change. In software a minor change is a point release, a .x. And a very minor release, say a bug fix, is a point release to a point release, say .x.a.

This means that our first version of Idea Central – V1.0 – came out in June 1999. It was followed by V1.1 (small changes), V1.1a (a bug fix), and so on. For a more important release, but not earth shattering, we have a .5 release. So afterV1.1a might come V1.5. And so on.

So, to read about two products which have achieved the milestone hurdle of V4.0 is a pretty impressive task… of customer trickery! You cannot launch a new product (as one did) at a V4.0 level, even if you claim that you have been working on it for 2 years and did not tell someone about it. It leads to false confidence. And you cannot just jump from a V1 to a V4 – someone has got to notice, please!

My message to buyers is as always caveat emptor (not beware of the not, buy watch out buyer). Do your research, and be wary of unsupported claims.

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