Progress on Goldenseal for Mac has been slow but steady. Most of the basics are finished, but there are many small details still left to test and fix. We are testing it with TurtleSoft data, but the software is not good enough for daily use, yet.
Our staff is also still working on the shopping cart for SmartKnives. We bought many vintage Swiss Army knives and Leatherman tools from airport confiscations in the years after 9/11. Now it’s time to sell them to collectors. Setting up the e-commerce has taken longer than expected. Unfortunately, it will continue to consume time between now and year end.
In the short run, it’s going to delay completion on the first release of Goldenseal Pro for Mac. However, programming is hard, and very few people can keep it up full-time. Taking breaks to do inventory counts and photography is a good break. A chance for ideas to percolate.
In the long run, the extra income will allow us to pay subcontractors for the Windows version and multi-user code. Our staff has less experience in those areas, and there are plenty of contractors able to do the work. It will take time to ramp up software sales, and this is something to fill in the gaps.
We came close to launching SmartKnives in 2015. The plan then was to subcontract the entire upgrade, so it was something to do while we waited. That was before we discovered how few people actually know how to write 64-bit software for Macintosh. It was long before we gave up on contractors, and tackled the Pro update with our own staff. That’s when we discovered the reasons why competent Cocoa developers are so rare.
In the mid 1990s we talked with some Venture Capital folks, considering a quicker and more massive launch for the original Goldenseal. One of their requirements was sufficient “barriers to entry”. Essentially, it means you need patents or some other protection to make sure there won’t be too much competition. They saw QuickBooks looming, and thought it would eat our lunch and only leave crumbs. It did.
We have struggled with Cocoa the past few years. But what keeps us going is the fact that it’s difficult for everyone. Cocoa is just about the only way to write Mac software that will run on Catalina. QT is an alternative, but that also is no easy road.
When we finally finish this thing, it will put us behind that barrier to entry.