People like our products

November 27, 2009

It’s been only 2 weeks since we switched to paid subscription for MobileNoter, but we already have paying customers in hundreds of users. We plan to hit the “in thousands” milestone somewhere next year.

In addition to that, we released another product this week. Meet “My Office” – a service dedicated to independant consultants, who work for direct sale companies like Amway or Mary Kay. The service offers the consultants a simplified CRM, accounting, and personal schedule module. The service is in beta as of now, and it’s free. We plan to translate it into English and eventually other languages next year. We have two buttons on the site: Compliment and Complain. So far, people are clicking “Compliment” button much more than the “Complain” – this is a good sign!


Evernote just got $10m more to burn

November 18, 2009

It’s all over the high-tech news, so I guess I can’t ignore this one. Evernote is kind of our competitor. Not exactly a competitor, because we are tiny (yet) and Evernote is probably #1 online note-taking software. Indeed, the main competitor for Evernote is Microsoft OneNote. OneNote is huge, but it’s totally locked into Windows platform. Even their upcoming clouded Office 2010 release won’t change that much. Microsoft stuff just doesn’t run well in other browsers. Sharepoint pages still don’t render anywhere except for MSIE. And when we take mobile devices, the browsers is not the best choice for good user experience. iPhone proves that – everyone creates native apps, because browser experience just isn’t that good.

So what we are going to do is to ride on the back of OneNote’s success and expand its reach into all other platforms that are not Windows. We are going to stick to this strategy and eventually displace Evernote as the #1 mobile and online note-taking software. What we don’t want to do is to burn money to embrace the platforms that are past their prime or just never going to be there, like Palm Pre. I won’t name some others to avoid controversy. So good luck to Evernote with burning more cash on the obscure platforms.

I will be posting more about Evernote and other competitors. Let’s consider this post as a disclaimer: we develop MobileNoter, which is a competitor to Evernote and other note-taking software. Thus, whenever I write on the topic, don’t forget that I’m biased.


Is a good business?

November 12, 2009

Our OneNote on iPhone software is doing very well for its first day of sales and it got me thinking about who else is doing very well. Everyone knows this company. I personally have been buying from Amazon and I really admire it, just like millions of people out there. It must be a good business. They are the biggest online retailer, the 900-pound gorilla. So I took a look at their annual reports. They are available from their site, go to the bottom link “Investor Relations”. It’s not very easy to find the most important figures, but it’s not very hard either.  I won’t tease you, here is the table of their annual profits (or should I say losses) for the years I was able to find: 

1996 -6
1997 -28
1998 -125
1999 -720
2000 -1411
2001 -567
2002 -149
2003 35
2004 588
2005 359
2006 190
2007 476
2008 645

Total: -$713,000,000.

As you can see, the great company had a glorious result for last 13 years. It has spent much more money than it earned. I won’t even go into stock prices and P/Es.  Is a good business? I don’t think so.


New release of MobileNoter is out there!

November 11, 2009

I am excited about our recent release of the MobileNoter. Technically, it is an update for our iPhone app. However, it is a really major update, AND we offer a paid subscription now. Previous version was free, and “free” doesn’t count when we talk about product’s viability. Apple approved our update a few hours ago and we are already have paying customers – this is a good sign!

So it’s time to become serious about marketing. I don’t think our app will make into the Top 10 in its category any time soon, because it’s kinda niche app. On the other hand it’s not a throw-away app either, that is when an app is downloaded, run once, and happily forgotten or removed altogether. We’ll see how it goes and I will post about interesting discoveries we are sure to make.


Meet hot darling of Web 2.0: StackExchange

November 7, 2009

Here is the site. The idea is simple: it’s a questions-answers service creator, much like Ning is a social network creator.

The questions-answers sites have been around forever. Even Yahoo! has one. However, the platform for these sites seems to be a new thing. Is it a good idea? While there are many unsuccessful social network, the biggest social network platform – Ning seems to be a success. Is it a success?

They have had over $119M in funding. Are they profitable? No. Do they have any revenue? Yes! How much? Likely to be $1M. Crap! A company burning through a hundred of millions and having annual revenue of a couple millions at most. That’s a typical Web 2.0 success indeed.

So it looks like StackExchange will be rapidly followed by competitors, and eventually even an open-source free version of it. It doesn’t look that StackExchange will be a huge success, but it well may be profitable. The key to StackExchange profitability would be very simple. The guys developed a nice platform, and they put it out there. If they stop all development and their maintenance and support costs are minimal, they will be out of red soon. There will be competitors, but the “first mover advantage” will let StackExchange to enjoy their nice monthly fees for a long time. If they continue to improve the product, sinking more dollars, it will be another money black hole.