Software developer Mark Walsen has been writing music notation software since 1994, when he founded Notation Software. He tells a fun story about how he cornered Bill Gates after starting working at Microsoft in 1988 as Program Manager for the Windows SDK and Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC):
I then started at Microsoft. At a party for new employees, I had Bill Gates ear for 15 minutes, trying to interest him in the market of musicians. Being a much smarter guy than me, it was immediately obvious to Bill that there was no sizeable market in music software –- at least not big enough for Microsoft.
Mark’s personal blog is an entertaining read on lots of subjects, and I recommend you check it out.
What would you like to do musically, and how could computers make that easier?
This gets right to the heart of what a product manager wants to know from the users (or potential users) of his product, and it’s always a great question to ask. At Sibelius I spend as much time as I can with individuals and groups of users, picking their brains to find out ways in which Sibelius could make their lives easier, or open up possibilities to them that they could previously only dream of. Mark’s post may well reach people who have a passing interest in music but who don’t even know that software exists out there to realise their creative dreams. I’ll certainly be watching the comments on his posts to see what ideas bubble up.