I'm a geek, I'm alone, I want to sell my amazing product. I'm not a commercial. How should I do?


Here's my quick CV:

  • I'm a real geek: for 18 years between 8 and 12hours a day in front of a computer;
  • no girlfriend until 20 because computers were more important than anything else;
  • nervous breakdown at the age of 14 because my computer was broken for more than 3 weeks.
  • when you type my name it comes before anything else in almost every country (=before facebook (where I've created my space (I don't use) to avoid cyber squatting))
  • full-time developper using this DAS keyboard only SSH connexion / screen and vim is my favorite editor
No kidding at all.

So what is following may sound cheeky but it's just the thruth and I'm not saying that to be cheeky or whatever I'm just talking about what I'd like to sell but I don't know how at all.

I'm 38, I've been working on my 100% home made framework.

[Edit] removed details to avoid advices about the product (this is not what I'm asking for).

In short, it's a very powerful Php/Mysql framework that companies who sell websites development could be using. It's my 4th full rewrite of this framework i've been working on for more than 4 years 8 hours a day to the least.

Just to emphasize it's a great product, I've just passed my engineer diploma 2 months ago and the subject of my thesis was... my framework.

My aim is to sell it. I don't know how to do it. I'm not a commercial. I've been unemployed for three months because my boss didn't have the money to pay me but I'll get my 100% salary for 5-12 months as long as I prove that I'm working on a real project (in France it's like this) and that's exactly what I'm doing.

I'm really worried about the future, because I'm very, very special. I've never worked with a team (even though I'm a good teacher and I've been giving lectures 120 hours/year for 2 years now). I've already had 3 "hire conversations" and they all ended like this: your psychological behavior makes us think you'll want to move sooner or later because you're both too good for us and you like to learn too much. No kidding, I'm sorry if it sounds cheeky, this is not what I want.

I'm trying to explain my problem which may sound weird, but it really sticks with startups: my product is done, I've got 4 websites that run on the 3rd version of my framework. The 4th rewrite is a major rewrite (I couldn't bring the source code of my old company with me so I had to rewrite it from scratch, and I've been working on it for 3 months night and day) and it's better, more efficient, and far more powerful than the 3rd one.

My aim

I just want to sell it to big companies. I want to sell this:

  • my framework;
  • my knowledge;
  • maybe full website development based on the 2 previous ones.

How would you do in my position? Suppose you have to contact a big company, you have kindof a problem: you've been working with computers 10 hours/day for 18 years now and computers need you to be always clear or they refuse to do the job. Computers = clear = binary. Now you'll have to talk with "commercials". People whose aim is to dilute the truth. Never make it clear to sell. Never ever. Lie. Lies. Liars. Liars and bargain. Oh my god! Damn damn damn. I hate that. I simply can't stand that.

How would you do? I feel like I'm about to try to sell Amiga whereas I'm in front of a better commercial who doesn't deserve to sell his product because his product is technically far worse than mine... if you see what I mean.

How would you do in my position? What are the steps? Who to talk in the company? The CEO? A commercial?

Thank you very much and once again: I'm trying to avoid to "sound cheeky".

PS: of course this is not my actual name here. I just liked the game Dofus a few years ago ;)

Software Selling Business

asked Nov 20 '11 at 08:23
Olivier Dofus
16 points
  • At the risk of promoting self-commericalized promotion; you might find benefit in includingt your contact information in your profile. – Joseph Barisonzi 12 years ago

6 Answers


My advice:

  • A commercial PHP framework might be a tough sell. The most popular frameworks (Zend, CodeIgniter, CakePHP, Kohanna, etc) are all open source. In fact, I don't think I've even seen a commercial PHP framework. I suspect that you'll have a hard getting traction because of that.
  • Because of that, you should consider making the framework open source and selling services and/or products around it instead of selling the framework itself. There are a multitude of services and products you could try: email/phone support plans, training, consulting, video courses, custom development, commercial add-on modules, etc.
  • You need a website. Explain the benefits clearly. Have full documentation and tutorials. A community support forum.
  • Build a community around your product and sales will come naturally. You can aid this by making your products/services more prominent on your site.
answered Nov 20 '11 at 09:02
Virtuosi Media
1,232 points
  • Damn this looks like a ton of things to make *around* the main stuff... What is weird is that I knew I should have something like that to do... but I'm still wondering if there's a way to sell it at a big price... And the (only) other thing I've seen is that CEOs don't know anything about computers. So if you manage to talk "their" language then you win. I just can't do that. I'm looking for a way to do that. Thank you very much for you advice. Going to bed, I'm going to "sleep on it". Thank you very much. – Olivier Dofus 12 years ago
  • By the way: Zend is complex. MVC and so on. CodeIgniter is far from being "simple and elegant" (like they claim) and needs like 1-2 weeks of training for a beginner (more for Zend). Same for CakePHP which doesn't handle multilanguage **and** multisite (=common things) properly... not to talk about "Kohanna" (did you see the **** when you check the sourcecode of the main page????). – Olivier Dofus 12 years ago
  • Open source or commercial, you won't be able to make it popular without the auxiliary pieces: the website, documentation, support, etc. There is room in the space for a framework done well as the existing ones definitely have some serious flaws, but the point in mentioning them is that they are currently industry standard (especially Zend) and popular. – Virtuosi Media 12 years ago
  • MMh. Very good points. Thank you very much. I'll sleep on it (even though it's hard for me to sleep because I don't know how the future will look like). – Olivier Dofus 12 years ago
  • The problem with a commercial framework is one of adoption. How will developers be able to try it out on a trial basis? How can a commercial product make headway against popular frameworks that are both open source and free? For some products, it's good to aim at marketing for management, but IMO, this isn't one of them. Any software company that lets a non-programming CEO choose their development framework for them isn't going to last long. I have a hard time even explaining what a framework is to most people. Sell it to the people who would use it and let them be your advocates to the CEO. – Virtuosi Media 12 years ago
  • Thanks for your advice but in France I can't do that (sell it to the people who would use it and let them be your advocates to the CEO). In France, commercials sell products. Commercials are key people and are the closest ones to the ones who *buy* the products for the company. I'm talking about companies of developpers, the ones who buy Zend, Delphi, the ones who pay for Photoshop (if you know what I mean). So I just can't go into a company, chat with employees, make some friends then try to show them my product and wait for them to speak to their CEO... If they ever will... – Olivier Dofus 12 years ago


It's not the culture of PHP developers to pay for frameworks. And it's certainly not a CEO decision to pick, or give a crap about code frameworks.
CTO, CIO - maybe - but often times the actual developers advocate for certain frameworks to be used. So you have to come from the bottom up with a framework not the top down in an organization.

If you want to try and sell it your only option is to:

  • Have examples of proven successful projects that are on it. Then you can find other companies that are in those industries and try to sell them on it.
  • You would pretty much have to do consulting and just use this as your go to framework - where the client is more concerned with the end product not how it was made
  • You would need a marketing website to tout the benefits of the framework
  • Video and training materials

But really, your best option is to open source it on Github or something like that.
You certainly need an outside perspective on your framework from other educated PHP developers. Do they think it's designed well, smart, easy, and does it have promise. You could have some of the leaders in some of the other frameworks take a peek at it or have them try it and give you some feedback. It's possible they would, most developers are very willing to assist and help.

Plus if you are interested in getting a full time job again in the future it's something that could help you get a job. I know if I was hiring a developer and they said take a look at this custom framework I made I would be intrigued and would love to check it out.

answered Nov 20 '11 at 14:03
Ryan Doom
5,472 points


You're going about this the wrong way .. People never buy engines.... People buy cars. Could you sell an engine? Yes... to a small select group of people... but everyone needs a car. Stop thinking engine, and start thinking car.

answered Nov 20 '11 at 11:05
1,072 points
  • Maybe I didn't express myself properly, and if so, I'm sorry for that. I'm talking about selling an engine to "car companies", not to everybody. And this is the main problem actually. – Olivier Dofus 12 years ago
  • So my comment is you'll sell more engines by putting them in cars rather than selling engines :) I'm in Paris on Tuesday, happy to hook up as I'm looking for an engine. I think Blake sent you my email address. – Sunil 12 years ago
  • Didn't get any email from you ;) I'm in France but not in Paris but I can go there or make a confcall if necessary, but I'm not prepared to show my "engine" like I'd like for commercials. I just can have technical discussion for now (even though I **like that**). I can show my 3 websites which run on the 3rd version, and my new one which is about to be released (~one week) (4th version). – Olivier Dofus 12 years ago


If you think it is as good idea as one that Bill Gates or Steve Jobs had, then go for it. With your attitude, you'll succeed.

But, if only you think its great and you can't immediately get others to, then you're in trouble.

answered Nov 20 '11 at 18:35
1,471 points
  • Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were mostly incredibly good commercials, and that's what I'm not. The problem is here. – Olivier Dofus 12 years ago
  • Then you will need others to advocate your product. A partner like Jobs was to Woz... or a community of developers using and praising your product. Someone will have to explain the 'why' of your product. Why people would love using it, why it's best for their business, why they should give it a chance when they might already be using Zend, Cake or Symfony. – Ryan Doom 12 years ago


Steve Jobs and Bill Gates started out at a different time in history, where there werent too many people like themselves with those skills. Its now 2011, a different world where coders are a dime a dozen. I wish I could travel back into time when computers were new, software was rare, and it took just one programmer to write software that utilized 100% of hardware capability. No one person will write a commercially successful operating system again, just like no one (or two) person can create the next generation of aircraft. Those days are over unfortunately

answered Nov 20 '11 at 20:37
1 point


Find commercial PHP and MySQL based companies that have products or services lines which requiere a framework like yours. Then expose what you offer that is best in comparison to the already existents. Maybe you could license your product to them or make a joint venture to sell and continue developing it with them.

In other words, go for the companies where the money in the open-source world is.

answered Nov 21 '11 at 07:51
Nestor Sanchez A
690 points
  • Very nice suggestion. Thank you. – Olivier Dofus 12 years ago

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