Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Getting a programmer's attention – winning idea gets $1000!

Software programmers, database administrators, systems engineers etc, whatever the title may be, are somewhat different from the rest of the people. One can quickly build a social network of teenagers, college students, professionals etc. but try building such network of programmers and you will see what I mean! Most of the people I know from this group don’t have an account on facebook, linkedin or myspace – they are the people who build such systems but they don’t often participate as users in them. Chit-chatting, sharing feelings or otherwise socializing for the sake of socializing are not something that they enjoy much (I think). They are willing helpers and contributors, readily sharing the knowledge they have despite how much they may have invested to gain that knowledge. Recognition of professionalism and cleverness by peers is more important and enjoyable than any other form of recognition.

Now, of course we could spend years exploring the peculiar characteristics of this group and speculating about it but I would prefer to leave that work to professionals. I am interested in a much more practical matter, that is, how to get the attention of these people when you don’t have gazillions of dollars to “blanket” the relevant web destinations and print publications with advertisements?

Here is the situation in more concrete terms:

  • we at xSQL Software have spent years developing a few very helpful SQL Server tools – tools that can save the programmers and database administrators many hours of work and “tons” of frustration;
  • our licensing is very generous – we give our products our for free for SQL Server Express and also give them out free for other edition of SQL Server in case the database is within certain size limits. That really translates into the products being free for the majority of SQL Server users.
  • the people who do get to use our products love them

So what’s the problem? The problem is we don’t have enough people trying our products.

What I am looking for is an ingenious approach to tell them about our products without annoying them. What do I mean by annoying – here is an example, we once ran an attention getting banner on a popular SQL Server site; we thought the banner was very clever, it used falling blocks from the classic tetris game to get attention and then it conveyed the message that we don’t play games when it comes to our tools, but it backfired – it distracted the visitors from reading what they wanted to read.

It only takes 5 minutes to download, install and try our products but 5 minutes is a lot in today’s World – we may at best get a few seconds of their peripheral attention during which we have to convince them that those 5 minutes we want them to spend with our products will really be worth it.

Email us your ideas at the sales address – our domain is – the winning idea will get a $1,000 and more… (email us if you want to know what the more part is).

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