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Hello friends of Balsamiq!
Peldi here with our traditional yearly "state of the union" post.
Older editions are here: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2009 and 2008.
Once again, this is going to be an epic-sized post.
We continue to truck along nicely, executing on our vision one step at a time. As usual, a large part of our efforts happen behind the scenes, both in product development and in general company growth. Revenue-wise, 2016 was yet another record year for us, with sales almost reaching $6.6 million. We continue to grow organically, just the way we like it.
If the sentence before sounds like I copied and pasted it from last year's post, it's because I did! 🙂 I just had to tweak it a tiny bit. I consider this a sign of success: nice and steady progress is exactly what we're aiming for.
We are SUPER-excited for 2017: in just a few months we will ship the new web app, after which we will bring the native editor to the desktop app.
Let's jump in!
Rewriting the application from scratch really made us think. We're basically taking everything we've learned over the last 8 years about what makes the perfect low-fidelity wireframing tool and putting it all together in a sweet little package.
In many ways, this feels like a big reboot for us. To paraphrase DHH, we built a product in 2016 to compete with our best ideas from 2008.
Since we're rebooting, we decided to give the product its proper name. Our product was never for making mockups, that's just what I called wireframes because I didn't know what they were called back in 2007. So instead of calling the native version Balsamiq Mockups 4, we're going to call it Balsamiq Wireframes.
We have also rebooted myBalsamiq, our web app. We took everything we learned about what a collaborative online wireframing tool should do, and built that. We removed a bunch of unnecessary features, and built the ones everyone wants instead. And we're giving it a clear name as well: Balsamiq Cloud.
Inspired by Basecamp, we decided that we're going to treat Balsamiq Cloud as a new, separate product from our existing web app myBalsamiq.
People will be able to move their data easily, but we have no intention of shutting down myBalsamiq any time soon. People don't like change, we shouldn't force it on them.
I CANNOT WAIT to be able to share more about these new products. Give us another couple of months! Subscribe to our newsletter if you want to be the first to know.
While the bulk of our dev team was working on the new stuff, we definitely didn't rest on our laurels when it came to Balsamiq Mockups 3 for Desktop.
We did 14 releases in 2016. Here are some highlights:
Overall, we're very happy with Mockups 3. Even if it's getting to be a little long in the tooth and will be replaced by Balsamiq Wireframes this year, the app is solid, easy to support, and has most of the features people need.
Oh, and it's still our best selling product! 🙂
If you still haven't updated, you're really missing out. Just head over to our download page to get your free update!
This was a good year for our plugin versions. We shipped two new plugins for Atlassian Cloud: Balsamiq Mockups 3 for JIRA Cloud and Balsamiq Mockups 3 for Confluence Cloud. Both include the Mockups 3 editor, and have been well received by our customers.
We also made Mockups for Confluence Server compatible with Confluence 6, and are almost ready to open a private beta for the new version of Mockups for JIRA Server, which includes the new native Balsamiq Wireframes editor.
Mockups 3 for Google Drive is trucking along nicely, and passed the $100,000 yearly revenue mark. We have big plans for it in 2017, and we finally have a team in place who can execute them.
We're already at work bringing the native Balsamiq Wireframes editor to all of our other plugin versions. We hope to ship an update to all of them with it this year.
To help us with all these efforts, we added a developer in testing to the team: Stefano Gozzi!
The biggest change in myBalsamiq was releasing annual subscription options for it, a highly requested feature.
Other than that, our focus was to make our infrastructure more scalable and resilient to possible security attacks.
As I said before, even if Balsamiq Cloud will be the new kid on the block this year, we have no intention of shutting down myBalsamiq any time soon.
Hosting almost 170,000 projects, it clearly works very well for many of you. If you're happy with it, nothing will change.
Once again, I'm really proud of our uptime numbers for the year:
There is A LOT of unseen work in keeping those numbers so high. Huge props to our ops and dev teams.
Keeping our infrastructure solid and secure is never ending: we're constantly doing updates in order to include the latest operating system security fixes and patches.
This year we also adopted two new tools for Ops. One is Logmatic, a very nice way to gather the logs from our different services in a single, powerful interface.
The other is Convox, a layer on top of AWS which helps us manage all of our services. It's really well done and powerful, you should check it out.
To keep these standards high and to make them even better, we hired a second DevOps this year: Drew Lafferty!
This was a big year for our tech and sales support teams: we grew the team 30% by hiring Liz and Phil, and set ourselves up for providing even better support going forward.
The biggest change in marketing in 2016 is that we hired Jessica to help us with it! 🙂
Our theme for Marketing in 2016 was "play to learn". In 2017, we'll transition to "play to win". 🙂
With that in mind, here are some of our marketing projects from 2016:
As for our balsamiq.com website, other than regular maintenance, we only made a few changes:
We plan on doing a full revamp of our website in 2017, to reflect our new product line.
These are the conferences we attended this year. Bold means one of us spoke at the conference.
We were interviewed a few times:
Here are the most notable press mentions from 2016:
Our Donation Policy is one of our favorite perks. In 2016, we split over $61,000 (3% of our profits) between 24 different charities. It's SO GREAT to be able to give back to our communities and help those in need.
We replied to over 2000 requests for free software, pretty much the same as in 2015.
We also continued with our policy of sponsoring events and resources we want to see succeed, because they're making the world a better place.
Here are some sponsorship numbers and highlights from 2016:
Here is a list of the biggest sponsorships we did in 2016:
Our little multi-national keeps on growing, and making sure it runs smoothly, efficiently and safely is no small task.
Luckily, we have an amazing Admin and Finance team in place.
The many recurring tasks Natalie, Joy and Anna perform would take way too long to write here (but maybe we'll do a separate blog post about it if you're interested!), so here are some highlights:
Here are the revenue numbers from 2016:
Revenue is growing steadily at almost $6.6M. It didn't grow quite as much as we expected because of a number of reasons, but we're not bothered by it. We've always focussed on long-term financial health, not quick growth.
Desktop and myBalsamiq had a good year. Plugins a little less but we know why: we migrated a large chunk of customers to Atlassian Marketplace, and gave each customer 7 months of free service to ease their pain.
The geographical distribution is pretty much identical as in past years. As usual, Australia is overrepresented because that's how we track sales that happen via Atlassian Marketplace (Atlassian is based in Australia, but the customers really come from all over the world).
We won't know our exact profit numbers for another few months, but we expect them to be very healthy as usual (we historically have over 30% profit margins).
As our company grows, we're constantly evolving our policies to keep up with our challenges.
Here's what happened this year in the area we call Company Kaizen, continuous improvement:
Not all of our projects bore fruit. It's a normal part of craftsmanship, no need to be ashamed of it.
Here's a list for 2016:
We're VERY excited about 2017. In many ways, it feels like a "reboot" year: new codebase, new major product versions, new company policies to fit our new 25-people reality.
Our goal is to keep on growing and learning as we go. Honing our craft, one deliverable at the time.
We're truly blessed to be able to do it with such a great, smart, and supportive community of customers.
If you're still reading, thank you! You must be a true fan. 🙂
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