Many times I’ve been told, ‘Snowtide should forget about doing custom development work, and concentrate on selling product’. Of course, few people realize just how important our custom development clients are to our overall business and to the quality of our product.
It should all be very simple, right? We have a great product (PDFTextStream) that does a fantastic job of extracting text and metadata out of PDF documents. It’s an ideal solution for Java developers that need to integrate PDF workflows into their desktop or web applications. Many of the more technically-oriented circles we travel in think that that’s enough, a clear indication that they fall prey to the myth of ‘if you build it, they will come’.
However, one of the ongoing keys to our business is how we maintain a divide between customers and clients:
- Customers keep the trains running on time. They purchase licenses for PDFTextStream as-is, and require very little hand-holding and advice — after all, they’re software developers themselves, and in general know what they’re doing.
- Clients form our inspiration. They need the base functionality of PDFTextStream, but it doesn’t do anything for their business needs alone — our clients by necessity look to us to help them build features and application functionality on top of PDFTextStream that will give them a competitive edge in their industry.
It’s no secret that there’s a lot more money to be had in selling product to customers instead of building new applications for clients. However, few understand just how important the latter are in informing our product development strategy, which makes PDFTextStream that much more attractive to new customers in more and more industries.
As it stands, PDFTextStream incorporates a number of features that have been specifically requested by various clients from various industries. And, of course, we’ll continue rolling out new sets of features that complement specialized needs. So, we thank our clients; without them, we would never have made it this far.