Thick Skin

People hate you if you’re a developer and you sell software.  Yes, it’s true.  Get over it.  No matter how hard you work at creating the perfect application someone will nit-pick something.  It doesn’t matter if you spent a year in development and six months in beta testing, someone will log a bug within the first 30 minutes of release.  Okay, the time frames are exaggerated but the end result is the same.

This means that you, as a developer, have to have thick skin.  Someone will always complain about something.  It happens all the time.  If you add feature X, users will complain that they “need” feature Y.  If you fix a bug and cause another one users will complain that your software is buggy and unstable.

If you panic every time you get a negative email then you’re probably in the wrong business.  Email is notorious for giving the wrong impression because you can’t tell if someone is joking or not.  Add the fact that writing is an art form that most people haven’t mastered and you’ll often misinterpret their intent.

Don’t even think about reading a review of your software by yourself.  Very few reviewers will give your software a perfect rating.  If they did, they wouldn’t be doing their job.  They get paid to point out a flaw, missing feature or bug in your software.  Have a friend or a spouse read the review first to get a relatively unbiased opinion of the review.  Then honestly look at the review and work on improving your software.  It’s an opportunity to improve.

Websites like VersionTracker allow feedback from users on software they’ve downloaded.  Be very careful when reviewing the feedback from those sites as generally happy people don’t feel inclined to give feedback.  Unhappy people like to spread their misery so bugs and missing features can cause a rating to go down quickly.

On the flip side, the next time you think about sending off an email or posting onto a support forum, think about how the developers might take your post.  Is it incendiary or is it respectful?  They’re human just like you.