Saturday, November 7, 2009

Co-Operative Effort

I am reluctant to title this "Co-Operative Marketing" for while it leads to a form of marketing, it's really about building a team of volunteers to do a lot of work for free with benefits for every single member of the team, especially ME!

My 1-click Indxr has taken off, and I have decided to send Under, Trail, MRUse and ZoomP down the same path.

Under is a collection of over 640 macros, many of which I have documented, but most of which I haven't.

Over the years I've made an effort, so the documentation is scattered across my hard drive.

Simple Macros that I use on a daily basis take me about five minutes to write up. Macros that I've not used for seven years require that I examine the program code itself, test it, and perhaps fix a couple of problems; could be 30 minutes.

A crude estimate is then 640 x 15 minutes, or about 160 hours.

I should not and can not and will not donate 160 hours (that's one week solid, 24 hours a day!) to document something that I know how to use for a bunch of people who will obtain the product for free.

What to do?

Get someone else (plural!) to help out.


People who are good writers and who use Microsoft Word on a daily basis and hence will understand the need for each macro.

The obvious choice is the crowd who download my 1-click Indxr . If some of them are grateful that I reduced one job of 5 hours down to 5 minutes, perhaps they would like to show their thanks by writing up one or two of the 640 macros in Under.

Pick a macro whose name suggests utility to YOU and I'll cobble together an overview and turn it over to you. You test the macro and decide what it does for you in your own words, the words of an end-user, and send it back to me.

I'll incorporate your efforts into my web site with an acknowledgement in the form of a link back to YOUR web site.

A product like MRUse or Indxr that requires a serious amount of effort might be tackled by a VA who would like a larger acknowledgement and an opportunity to showcase their work as a technical writer.

For that VA, a potential client could be sent to my web site to inspect the User Guide, and might even download the package to see how the guide stacked up against the program.

The Result?

Good for me.

Good for the VA.

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