Never a conformist, Sir Gil Simpson is again challenging convention with an exciting plan to change the way business software is distributed.
Sir Gil Simpson is one of New Zealand's greatest technology entrepreneurs. He initially found success with a mainframe software development tool called LINC, that was distributed by Unisys throughout the world and earned hundreds of export dollars for New Zealand.
Jade, another ground-breaking software programming technology, formed the basis of Sir Gil's next venture Jade Software Corporation. He left the company last year and set up Jolly Good Software as a distributor of business software, including those made by the companies using the Jade development tool.
Jolly Good Software has created a swanky retail space in central Christchurch, a "software gallery" where business people can learn about and purchase software.
Sir Gil says he is challenging the traditional model of selling software with the gallery. "The software industry channel is dysfunctional, there is no real place for businesses to go to buy software apart from big computer companies and consultants."
"Buying software is an emotional decision for any business person, and I don't think the existing model caters for that. Buying a house or a new car is a big, complicated and emotional decision but people have a process they are comfortable with in doing that. I want to create the same sort of process for software, I don't think it is there at the moment."
Sir Gil says an absolute fundamental for any technology marketer is to consider the channel to market. "The question you have to ask yourself is when your prospective customer gets up in the morning how do they go about buying your product? Who can they buy from, where are they, what will influence that decision. You have to understand that to sell your product effectively."
Having that clarity of understanding about your channel is critical, says Sir Gil. "At Jade we were efficient at marketing but not always effective." A better understanding of the fundamentals of our market, such as the channel, would have made it easier.
The best advice he can offer technology entrepreneurs is to really try to go out to the customer and look back into their business, particualarly how your customers buys yours.