Looking Back at 2017

Hello friends of Balsamiq!

It's February, when we traditionally look back at the previous year and share our plans for the current one. Older editions are here: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2009, 2008.

These posts are getting harder to write, because with so many people (we're 30 now), we get so much done. Listing it all would be impossible, and picking highlights is hard and risks making whole sections of the company feel like their work is less important. So I'll try to just give you the real highlights today.

We continue to build two things at the same time:

  1. a low-fidelity wireframing tool
  2. a bootstrapped, flat, remote, distributed, profitable, longevity-focussed company

I would have found this hard to believe when I started almost 10 years ago, but both endeavors require the same amount of effort.

Balsamiq Wireframes

2017 was a transformative year for our little tool. We switched 6 out of 8 versions of our product to a fully rewritten javascript-powered codebase. The common knowledge is that full rewrites kill software companies, but I'm happy to report that we've survived ours! Sure it took over 3 years and our revenue growth slowed down, but growth has never been our focus, we're playing the long game here.

The main focus of 2017 was all about finishing the rewrite and shipping Balsamiq Cloud, our brand new web app which uses the new editor. It took pretty much all year, but it's done, and it's fantastic. We're really proud of Balsamiq Cloud and the new Balsamiq Wireframes editor, and its revenue is taking off like a rocket.

We also converted all of our plugin versions to Balsamiq Wireframes, and started working on the new native macOS and Windows Desktop applications, which will ship later this year.

Our main plans for 2018 are to ship Balsamiq Wireframes for Windows and Mac, which will let us finally retire our Flash-based codebase. Having all products on the same codebase will allow us to tackle some big features which we've had to hold back for a while: find and replace, spell check, nested symbols, shared assets... you get the idea.

Balsamiq the Company

There was a lot of action in Balsamiq-land in 2017: we had 2 interns and hired 8 full-time people: a huge jump for us! We also said goodbye to two employees, who left for personal reasons. So we ended 2017 with 29 employees...we will grow more in 2018, but not as quickly.

We continued to vigorously work on our processes and policies, and on the tools we use to run smoothly.

A 30+ person company is very different than even a 20 person one. A company that's 10 years old is much different than a younger one. We're spending a lot of effort setting ourselves up for the next decade.

If you're looking for our revenue numbers and pretty charts, subscribe to our newsletter before the end of February and you'll get them that way. We'll update this post with the charts in May.

In 2018, we want to continue to improve how we work, and we want to define what Balsamiq should look like for the years to come, both internally and externally. A big effort which will help drive these conversations is a full website revamp project, which will take all year.

The idea is to use 2018 to set up our team, processes, tools and products for an exciting 2019.

That's it! I hope you enjoyed this very high-level update from Balsamiq-land.

If you have any questions about anything specific, don't hesitate to ask! You can either leave a comment here or ask me in the #peldi_ask_me_anything channel in our Slack Community.


Peldi for the Balsamiq Team

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