We used to have a simple model, build a product, sell it, build another .. rinse and repeat.
When we 'accidentally' got into the education market with a pretty neat performance tracking system for schools in the 90's we realised we had an opportunity to create something that could potentially generate recurring revenue.
We were lucky and eventually right in our assumption - we spent an awful lot more than we had planned (or had in the bank!) but we discovered that wrapping up the offering into a single annual payment which included all support, hosting, data management and updates was attractive to our clients.
Suddenly gaining a load of clients presented a few issues which I'll cover in another post, but we're now as a company 'selling' almost all of our output as annual rental of systems - of course a whole vocabulary has now been created to describe this model but in the 90's we just called it 'rental'
So when I say we're a product company, what I really mean is that we build products and rent them out - or maybe what we do is create a product which is actually a service... I know you can think too much about this stuff, but for me the lines between products and services are blurry.