An Update from Balsamiq-Land!
Hello friends, long time no see!
So sorry for not keeping you in the loop more about what's going on in Balsamiq-land.
Although it might seem like we're not doing anything from the outside, the last few weeks have been actually quite intense. I should have done a better job at staggering our work, but I got greedy...it all looked so fun and important! 🙂
Here's what we've been working on:
A Whole New Website
As you can see, we did a complete revamp of our website: graphic design, information architecture, updated copy, screenshots and screencasts, better URLs with 301 redirects...the whole 9 yards.
Look around and tell us what you think! 🙂
This was a MONUMENTAL task. No, EPIC. Mike is a friggin MACHINE, a GENIUS graphic designer and WordPress GURU. We're so lucky to be able to work with him.
Mike will blog about the details of the changes and about our process in his UX Blog later today or tomorrow.
The Components feature
We are only a few check-ins away from being able to share the 1st BIG chunk of this feature to you.
We're going to do a screencast of it this afternoon and plan to release it to the pre-release page tomorrow.
This was also a MASSIVE effort, a huge refactoring of the very core of our code-base. Marco is also a MACHINE and has been heads down on this for longer than most people could bare.
Finishing this feature is our current #1 priority right now.
We made a lot of progress in this area, with almost weekly releases to the beta group.
You can now archive and unarchive projects, follow projects completely via email, and soon you'll be able to propose an alternative mockup as part of a comment.
We only have 3 more releases planned before launch (moving to a more scalable infrastructure, reworking the signup flow and integrating with the payment processor). Exciting times!
We have also released tentative pricing for myBalsamiq, here.
September was a bit tough for me personally. When I first started Balsamiq, I had this vision dream of it being a 5-6 person company one day. I thought that 6 great people were a good size team, yet small enough for me to be able to lead it successfully.
At the beginning of July, we got to that point, and let me tell you, it was a great feeling.
What happened over the course of the summer was a bit of an eye-opener for me: it turns out that if we keep adding 1,500+ customers each month (we're at over 30,000 now), six people are NOT going to be enough to support them as well as we want to.
We also want to do more things now, and as the last few weeks have shown me, it would help to have more hands on deck to tackle them all.
In short, I had to come to the realization that my initial vision was not sustainable. It took me a little while to learn to let go of it, come up with a new - bigger - one, and most importantly gain the confidence needed to lead a bigger team. I'm ready and SUPER-excited now, but it took some time for me to envision this new phase of our company (we call it Balsamiq 2.0). 🙂
To put it another way, I learned that the needs of the market are more important than the original vision of the founders.
We're not going to change the way we work, we're still growing organically and loving every minute of it. The only difference is that instead of artificially capping our growth at 6 full-time employees, we'll let the market tell us how big we need to be in order to serve it properly.
More on this to come, for sure.
This has been a time of big personal growth for me as well.
I got to fulfill one of my life's goals by speaking at the Business of Software conference. It was an awesome experience all around, but a very scary one as well. I was so worried about it that I made fear and worrying the topic of my talk there. 🙂 The talk was well received, and I can't wait to share the video with you.
Here I am at the speakers' dinner. I know, I can't believe I was invited either! 🙂
As part of the website redesign I splintered off a new personal blog.
The Business of Software was my last talk for a while. My goal for the next few months is to take each topic from all the talks I gave this year and turn them into different blog posts. I can't wait! In the meantime, go there and subscribe to it if you want to read my ramblings about bootstrapped software startups... 🙂