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Why FogBugz?  Why CityDesk?

I see that someone has already asked the question "how do you come up with the idea fo a software product", but I'd like to take that question and post it with a greater level of specificity.

I have seen you post that you are a believer in execution more so than ideas - and this is a credo I can wholly agree with.  At the same time, there must have been *some* considerations that steered you toward doing a small CMS product instead of, say, an ActiveX control for .NET.  There must have been *some* considerations that steered you toward doing a bug tracking system instead of, say, a variable compensation system.

I suspect that you choose markets rather than choosing products, but as I said before...I hate to be presumptious, and I love a good small business story.

Norrick
Saturday, February 21, 2004

We already had FogBUGZ sitting around for our own use, and people were pestering us to give them a copy -- people who were happy to pay for it. So we made a product out of it and zee rest eez 'istory.

CityDesk was the original "idea" for Fog Creek and it was based on the idea, common at the time, that existing big iron content management systems (Vignette, etc.) did not fit the needs of millions of small web publishers. Luckily for us, nobody else executed on that idea, and when they did, they usually got distracted by making blogger tools, which are fun but not lucrative. Or they made server based CMS's which are easier to code but which don't serve the needs of the 99% of all web publishers who don't control their own servers (not to mention the fact that web browsers are still a terrible place to compose text). So we wound up with the market all to ourselves. "Yay for us!"

Joel Spolsky
Fog Creek Software
Saturday, February 21, 2004

As a follow up.

I'm wondering how long the 'idea' of citydesk was floating around.  How long did you spend refining & fleshing it out? 

Also, how did the original idea come to you.  Was it a 'eureka' moment one day?  Or was it driven by experience with those horrible CMS systems (Vignette is awful).

Koz
Saturday, February 21, 2004

As for coming up with the idea, it's pretty to anyone who's tried to manage even a small, personal web site, let alone a bigger intranet at the office: No one in their right mind wants to types articles in a textarea, either because it's a pain (if you have the computer skills), or it's just too difficult (if you're not a techie.)

Incidently, I'm waiting for the CityDesk version that will connect to a PHP-based CMS like Drupal or Mambo, so that I can have contents on my local hard disk, edit stuff in a fast, solid, dedicated application (ah, the joys of the browser GPFing with 5 paragraphs of stuff I have to rewrite...), and upload the stuff to a basic web server on the Net (just PHP and MySQL, since this is pretty much all you'll get on a shared web server.)

I don't remember if I read it here or swhere else, but someone mentionned that the vast majority of new companies do not come up with a brilliant idea, but rather did serious market studies, and came up with products and/or services that are just somewhat better.

In the case of CityDesk:
1. A lot of people need a tool to manage the contents of a web site
2. They are used to Word, ie. WYSIWYG wordprocessor. They don't/can't work with HTML, setting up a web server, DMBS, etc.
3. They want to edit stuff on their host, so they always have a copy, and they can hit CTRL-S every couple of minutes in case the app crashes

Voilà :-)

Fred
Sunday, February 22, 2004

Uh, correct me if I'm wrong, but there's this little company called "Macromedia" that has a product called "Contribute" that seems to be a LOT like CityDesk - it's aimed at non-technical web publishers that want to update web sites.

Not sure how you have the market "all to yourselves."

Joe
Friday, February 27, 2004

When CityDesk launched, Contribute wasn't at sight.

Leonardo Herrera
Friday, February 27, 2004

Well, but is *is* now, and Joel's comment above was posted three days ago. And Contribute was definitely around 3 days ago.

Joe
Friday, February 27, 2004

OK, read the wrong post - he made his comment 6 days ago. And even if you don't count Contribute, there are other such writer-focused, client tools on the market. Either way, I find it hard to believe that CityDesk has the market all to itself.

Joe
Friday, February 27, 2004

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