Book Review: From Program To Product

Two years ago, I learned that you can be a brilliant programmer and write awesome code but if your code doesn’t help solve some problem or doesn’t ease someone’s pain, then you’re not really doing your part.

This is exactly the lesson that this book tries to drive home. It goes through the different aspects of creating a product from the programming and support to the licensing and legal side. The book also includes several interviews with people who have already done that. Personally, I found the interviews the most enjoyable part of it all.

The interesting part, to me, in all of this is the applications described in those interviews were really boring. As a programmer, they’re not exactly the kind of work that we love to do. I mean come on, a product to manage a stable? Tracking horses and lessons? Zzzzzz…. Not exactly the kind of work that would keep you up coding all night long. However, the applications were a success because they helped people to do their job better. They eased the pain of doing those things manually and, who knows, maybe gave someone less stress and more time to spend with their family. That is certainly what computers and programs are meant to do. To help us do what we’re supposed to do. And we’re all here to do what we’re all here to do.(The Matrix reference)

It took me a while to learn that lesson. I first noticed it when, as a freelancer, I had to work on a few jobs just to pay the bills. The tasks weren’t enjoyable to me as a programmer, I was just doing it for the money. And as a programmer, a lot of those tasks were very simple to do. Yet the people who I worked with were very grateful that I helped. And, as a business and a person, there’s nothing like a happy customer.

On the cons side of things, this wasn’t exactly a page-turner. Don’t get me wrong, the book is interesting. But recently I’ve been reading a lot of books about entrepreneurship and starting a business. And aside from the inspiration, once you’ve read one, you’ve read them all.

Overall, I give this book 3/5 stars. You can get the book from From Program to Product: Turning Your Code into a Saleable Product (Expert’s Voice).