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Hi there. If you've been following this blog for a while you already know that lately I haven't been sharing as much as I used to. It's true and it pains me, so I want to try and figure out the reasons for this change by writing about them below.
The main reason is purely mechanical: with over 4500 customers and over 200 new customers every week, I have little time left for blogging, or anything other than customer support for that matter. I spend my days in GMail and have been feeling like I'm "chasing" my business for the last few weeks...by the time I have answered the most urgent messages and dealt with the bank/accounting/beurocracy issue of the day it's usually already 2pm, which leaves little time to do everything else. It's very frustrating and I am working on it (more news on this VERY soon), but let's just say that I now fully understand why Joel Spolsky suggests keeping your marketing, resources, quality and revenues in lock-step in this great Inc article from last year (make sure you check out the infographic). I have been actively holding back on some exciting changes because we cannot manage any more customers than what we're currently attracting at the moment...something I never thought I would have to do and certainly a good problem to have...still, it's stressful, trust me. Thank goodness for Marco and Luis who keep development going and for Mariah who keeps sending tons of free licenses out every day.
All the other reasons are related to the fact that Balsamiq Studios is growing and maturing as a company.
Let's talk about blogging about our financial results for instance. I received huge amount of attention each of the four times I shared our numbers in the past...I wasn't doing it as a marketing ploy but it sure worked as one! 🙂 Everyone likes to hear of other people doing well, myself included. Problem is, we are now doing SO well that we are embarrassed to talk about it. Although we're always happy to share our figures if someone asks, publicly talking about them on this blog would just be boastful and distasteful, it's simply not our style. The reason I talked about the numbers in the past was to reassure potential buyers that Balsamiq will be in business for the duration of their support period, and hopefully the years ahead. Now that we make enough to cover our yearly salaries every month, that's no longer needed.
Another reason for not blogging as much is that my own personal need to blog is not as strong as it used to be. Just like most parenting blog (ours included) don't last more than a couple of years, once things start humming along and you start getting into a rhythm, the insecurities that resulted in the need for venting dissipate. We are now "out of the tunnel", if you will...plus with Marco here every day I get to vent to him instead of here on the blog...poor Marco. 🙂
I am also personally in transition...I no longer feel like a total newbie at this entrepreneurship thing but I am definitely far from being an expert, confident enough to give advice to anyone. On one hand I can’t really ask dumb questions publicly any more (I am embarrassed to show our big enterprise customers how clueless I am in some areas), and on the other I'm no Paul Graham, Joel Spolsky, Marc Anderssen, Guy Kawasaki, Gary Vaynerchuck or Seth Godin...maybe in 20 years, if ever. 😉
Speaking of which, I would love to speak at some conferences in 2010 - mostly because it's a great way to travel, I like to speak in public and I don't like paying to attend conferences 😉 - but I'm not really sure I'm in the position to teach anyone anything yet...let me know if you disagree (hi mom!) and if so feel free to suggest some topics I could talk about! 😉
So there you have it, I think that's why this blog is getting a little more centered on product announcements and yes, more boring than it used to be. I'm ok with that, at least for now. I am trying to build what DHH calls "a little italian restaurant on the web"...so while it's good to know the owners and know that they are doing well, that shouldn't be the reason you go eat there: it's the quality of the food (ehm, product) that matters most.
Interestingly enough, while this blog is becoming a little more corporate, I am becoming a little more personal in what I share on Twitter...so let's chat over there (@balsamiq) if you'd like! 😉
P.S.If you can think of something we should blog about, don't hesitate to ask! For instance, Marco is thinking of doing a set of more technical programming series of posts, and we're thinking of doing a "customer success stories" series as well. Would those be interesting to you?
[Update: this post was picked up by Hacker News, you can follow/contribute to the discussion there]
Peldi for the Balsamiq Team
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Really interesting you’re detailing all the figures as you have done previously. I’ve been looking at what the minimum costs are to bootstrap a company in the UK (http://simonmhawkins.com/blog/2009/4/30/what-is-the-minimum-cost-to-run-a-software-company.html) and trying to detail the absolute minimums. Once the company is running you then have the growth issues and your support volume highlights this. I’ll be interested to hear your news on how you are going to work this one, and how it will effect costs. It would be nice to include potential scaling costs in a model for bootstrapping a software company.
Wish you well, and look forward to hearing more.
Ryan, can you get Peldi to come to FOWA London please – I need to meet up with him again 🙂
I think it is very exciting to listen real stories from real people with real numbers and the only reason is that is very inspiring. If you talk about money we wish you best and looking forward to your successful future, there is not jealousy, its pure support from our site. Internet is world where “doers” can do more then “talkers” and that is why I love it.
Wish you and your business all the best. Well done!
it’s always wonderful read about big and small success stories written by Italian’s creativity. Keep giving us feedback about you work. I’m one of the sponsor of a convention (free of charge) that will take place in Rome in June. It’s called Frontiers of interaction and it’s a good way to meet interesting people… why don’t you come to have a look?
BTW I’m on a project focused on bringing a bunch of the Silicon Valley spirit in Italy… I’d like to talk about that with you
We’d be honored to have you speak at FOWA. Interested?
Congrats on the success – you’re an inspiration 🙂
[Peldi: heck yeah Ryan! In fact, it was one of my secret goals in life! Let’s talk over email. And thanks for the kind words. You’re an inspiration to me so there’s that. ;)]
+2 regarding board of advisors from me and my better half. This is really interesting topic for us as a MicroISV 🙂
[Peldi: thanks Kirill and Rico for the request. I will blog about my awesome advisers soon, but in the meantime this might be of help: How To: Assemble A Board of Advisers from Inc. magazine]
I absolutely agree with Craig. I would also love to hear some more about your board of advisors. How did you find these people? Who are they? Do they have a financial interest in your company? What did you learn from them? I think this would make a great posting.
I have loved reading your blog and about your success, it’s been very inspirational and enjoyable reading.
I’d love to read maybe about the more nuts and bolts of your business. Maybe the day in and and day out, how it’s changed over time, and how you use your mentors and advisory board could be cool.
It’s a great idea to do customer success stories, that would be very beneficial and very interesting to a whole lot of readers.
As for revealing your stats and numbers, I wouldn’t be worried about any sort of backlash. I think you have been extremely brave and transparent about your revenue and although that’s to be applauded, I think it’s over the top. At the end of the day it’s none of our business. It’s extremely interesting, but now that you have established that it’s a full time ongoing business you have every right to keep these figures to yourself. And it has no effect on the advice you give. We know what you have done now. Enjoy it.