Debra Willrett, founder of Expert Software Consulting, will discuss “Lesson’s Learned from the Invention and Sale of MacProject”. Debra is the inventor of the Macintosh application MacProject, an application that has defined a paradigm for interactive graphical project management tools for the last 25 years. Motivated by the need to manage software projects Debra describes how the product evolved in our founder’s story Debra Willrett on inventing MacProject . She makes a couple of interesting points in the interview that are worth exploring tomorrow:

“When I saw a pre-release of Apple’s Lisa computer, I realized I had the components in place for a business. I had the problem to solve, the system to build it on, and the skills to build a WYSIWYG application with broad appeal.”

  • Pasteur noted “Where observation is concerned, chance favors the prepared mind.” What do you do today to maintain your entrepreneurial perspective?
  • What problems are you incubating as you continue to refine your skills and explore new platforms

You need to be flexible and realistic. In exchange, you can be firm about the issues which are important to you. One of the key terms of my contracts with Apple was that I would retain ownership of the software.

I also found that I could profit from being underestimated by others.

I requested a number of significant bonus incentives for meeting scheduled deadlines. Since software schedules are routinely slipped as additional features are added or the scope of the project changes, no one believes you when you say you will deliver something on time.

They will happily add terms in the contract which pay more for meeting delivery dates. And I happily collected on every one of my bonus payments. Of course, the customer also won, because having the new features earlier increased sales.

  • What are key terms to negotiate with early customers?
  • What were some techniques you used to deliver software on schedule that are applicable to today’s projects.

This promises to be an interesting conversation. We have limited space so please register here