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    Target shopping carts are ridiculously overengineered.

    Many of us have experienced the luxury of pushing a Target shopping cart. Compared to shopping carts at other stores, they feel like they're floating through the store, gliding smoothly around corners.

    Recently, I had a shopping trip where my cart only had 3 wheels. I didn’t even notice until I took a quick turn in it and it felt weird because of all of the stuff I had in the cart. The rest of the time, it didn't tip or try to rest its weight on the missing wheel. It just worked. Wild.

    Saturday May 25, 2024
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    Companies are a lot more willing to send you new hardware for “free” when yours has issues and you have a monthly subscription to a connected service

    Wednesday May 22, 2024
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    Vanilla Visa Gift Card tips

    If you happen to receive a Vanilla Visa gift card, I have a couple of tips based on my recent experience.

    Don’t try to use them on Amazon. That’s the only one that I tried, but from what I hear, most online retailers won’t work. However, I was able to use the card to add money to my balance on the Steam store.

    Don’t use your computer to view your gift card balance, use a phone browser instead. Apparently using a web browser on a computer to log into the Vanilla Visa gift card website hasn’t worked in years.

    Sunday February 25, 2024
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    There’s no way that this many banks in America are the First National Bank.

    Somebody’s lying.

    Sunday November 12, 2023
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    It's time to reboot Murder, She Wrote

    and Amanda Tapping should play Jessica Fletcher.

    Tuesday October 17, 2023
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    I wonder if Drake is contractually obligated to mention his private plane as much as possible, considering that he probably got it for a big discount, or even for free

    Why else would you specifically mention your plane and that it’s specifically a 767 in a comment publicly dissing another rapper?

    Sunday October 8, 2023
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    Just don't stop walking.

    In my efforts to get more steps in each day, I've been looking for ways to work walking into things that I am already doing.

    I take my dog Waffles out several times each day.

    Recently, I realized that I was usually just standing still, watching her.

    I started this new thing where I just walk the entire time that we are outside. 10 mins of nonstop walking here and there throughout the day has made a dramatic difference.

    Friday October 6, 2023
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    Is Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare crashing on your Steam Deck when waking from sleep?

    If so, just pick the Safe Mode option that's given to you when you start the game the next time. It hasn't crashed for me since.

    Wednesday June 21, 2023
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    This new UPS Access Point thing really grinds my gears.

    Apparently, if you aren't available to receive a package, UPS now will "helpfully" pick a random store near your house to leave the package at, and then you have to go there to pick it up.

    The last time this happened, they left it at the Walgreens around the corner from my house. Then I had to get in line behind a family of 5 for 5-10 minutes while they argued about which photos they wanted to print, because the package pickup point in Walgreens was also the photo department counter.

    This time, they left the package at a nearby auto parts store. I'm sitting here asking myself... how is this better than having them leave the package at the UPS store near my house (which is easier to get to than either the Walgreens or the auto parts store), like they used to? How is this better for the customer?

    And then I realized that I'm not the customer. The sender of the package is UPS's customer. I am the sender's customer. UPS promised the sender that they would get someone to sign for the package, and Walgreens/the auto parts store are middlemen who are trying to increase their foot traffic.

    Now it all makes sense.

    Friday June 9, 2023
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    A car that moves sideways.

    Forget normal parallel parking, I want a car that can crabwalk like this Hyundai concept!

    Wednesday January 11, 2023
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    Whenever I make scrambled eggs, I think of people I've lost.

    I grew up poor. So poor, in fact that at one point during my childhood we ended up having to move in with my mom's mom: Mary Noel LaGrange. That ended up workng out great for me, because I got to spend a lot of time with my grandmother.

    She loved to feed me and watch me eat. Looking back through old photos, I was such a fat baby! A lot of it was her doing.

    What I remember most, though, are the quiet mornings that we spent in the kitchen, when she'd make me eggs and cheese.

    4 eggs. Cast iron pot. Butter. 2 slices of American cheese.

    The pot she used was well seasoned, and I remember that she'd somehow get the eggs and cheese to brown in such a way that they became one delicious entity.

    I was by her bedside when she passed away. I was still too young to learn how to cook, so she didn't get to teach me how to make them.

    A few years later Cheryl, the older neighbor girl who lived next door came over and taught me how to make scrambled eggs. She also passed away way too soon, in a horrific car accident.

    I have made at least 8,000 scrambled eggs in my life, but I have never been able to replicate my grandmother's eggs. There's just something about them that I have yet to figure out.

    Every time I make scrambled eggs, I think of my grandmother and Cheryl, and every now and then I throw in some American cheese and try to make those eggs.

    One day I'll get them right.

    Saturday December 31, 2022
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    How to resolve Apple HomeKit issues between the Chamberlain MyQ Home Bridge with a UniFi router

    If you have a UniFi setup with a Chamberlain MyQ Home Bridge, sometimes it can be flaky under HomeKit. Specifically, the issue that I was seeing was that the garage door opener could be seen and controlled by the MyQ app, but in the iOS home app, both the MyQ Home Bridge and the garage door opener showed the dreaded "No Response" message. It turns out that the issue is that HomeKit WiFi devices tend to use the 2.4GHz band, but your computers and other devices are probably on the 5GHz band. The UniFi router/WiFi access points will silently create 2 networks with the same SSID... one that's 2.4GHz and one that's 5GHz.

    Normally that's not a problem, but due to the way that HomeKit discovers devices, it becomes a quite annoying issue. Basically, HomeKit/Bonjour devices advertise themselves using something called Multicast DNS. In some cases, the UniFi software won't send the Multicast traffic between the 2 networks, so your HomeKit bridge can't find the MyQ Home Bridge.

    The way that I fixed it was to open the UniFi Controller interface and turn on the setting named "Enable multicast enhancement (IGMPv3)". I found it under Settings > Wireless Networks. I clicked Edit on my wireless network, and then I clicked Advanced Options to reveal the setting. Once I applied that setting, my Home Bridge showed up immediately.

    Thursday September 19, 2019
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    Don't ride in the bus. Drive your own car.


    I've been entrepreneurial since I was young. I started my own business when I was 15, and although I've had more than a few years of working for someone else, my goal has always been to work for myself. Over the years, that feeling got stronger and stronger. I was tired of being asked for my opinion about something, taking the time to give a well-reasoned answer and having my advice be completely ignored. I was tired of working on things that never shipped. I was tired of working on things that had no reason other than "because I said so". I've always done my best work when I can see the reason behind the work that I'm doing. Around February of 2013, the startup that I was working for ran out of money and after panicing for a few months, I realized that I'd built up enough of my own business over the years that I didn't have to find another job. I figured out that if I just focused on growing the apps that I was already working on, I'd be fine.

    It’s been a great ride so far. My business has grown and is continuing to grow. By December of last year, I was making as much revenue in 5 days as I did in the entire month of April.

    I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently about why I prefer running my own business. I’ve come to the conclusion that I feel that running your own business is like driving your own car, while working for someone else is like taking the bus.

    When you ride in the bus: You can make suggestions to the bus driver, but they don’t have to take them (and they probably won’t). If the bus gets in a wreck, you (and everyone else in the bus) might see it coming, but the only one who can decide to avoid the accident is the person behind the wheel. The bus driver can also decide to kick you off of the bus at any time, for any reason. Conversely, if the bus is consistently the best bus on the road and never gets in any wrecks, it might get upgraded over time, or traded out for a new bus. Everyone in the bus benefits from things like heated seats, free meals, video screens, free wifi, etc (health insurance, stock options, bonuses). You can focus on just the job that you’re getting paid to do. As long as you’re getting that job done within the organization, you’ll probably get paid.

    If you drive your own car: You have to be alert all of the time, because your business depends on you being able to see issues coming, and avoiding them. You’re responsible for all of the decisions, so your failure or success depends on you. However, you can take your foot off of the gas at any time. You can take a shortcut, or a more scenic route.  You can buy a sports car if you want (which may accelerate your success or failure, depending on how you drive), you can drive a reliable, dependable car, and you can even drive a minivan if you want (doesn’t go as fast as the rest, but it holds your whole family!), depending on what’s most important to you. Your mistakes and successes are your own.

    In my experience, it feels pretty good to be the one driving the car, instead of riding the bus with everyone else. It’s great not to be tied to the same destiny as everyone else, with no real control over how things end up. It’s not the best choice for everyone (some people prefer the illusion of security that employment brings), but it’s definitely the best choice for me.

    Maybe you shouldn’t be riding in the bus either.

    Tuesday January 13, 2015
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    Say No More Often.

    Earlier in my career, I found it very hard to say no to anyone who asked me to do anything for them. I was just happy that people were using what I built, and I wanted to do whatever it took to keep them using my products. If a customer asked for a feature, I’d most likely trip over myself to add it.

    Lately, I’ve been saying no more often, both to existing customers who ask for things that are outside of the direction that I have in mind for my products, and to potential new customers who ask for me to do things that I’m not comfortable with (recently a potential new customer asked me to sign an NDA for them to start a trial of my SaaS app, and I said no).

    I think that the root cause of my inability to say no in the past was that I didn’t really have a defined audience or direction for my products. It’s pretty hard to be able to say no to things if you don’t know who you want as a customer. So I took some time to define my ideal customers. Since I know who they are now, I also know who doesn’t fit into that group, and it’s easy to tell them no when they ask for things outside of that. I’ve also found it easier to say no once I realized that even if I did what they wanted me to do or added the feature that they wanted me to add, it wouldn’t be something that I would really care about, so the app would suffer overall from lack of focus, and they’d probably leave eventually anyway because I wouldn’t be fully invested in making that feature better over time, leaving me with a feature that literally no one wants.

    So, take some time and figure out who your ideal customers are, and what your longer-term vision for your product is. It doesn’t even need to be super long-term, just your vision for the next couple of months is fine. Taking time out from the daily grind of writing code or marketing your app to define who you want for your app to serve will pay off dividends for years to come, and your app (and your life) will be much better because of it.

    Thursday April 17, 2014
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    The stages of being an entrepreneurial developer

    Learn to code. Write a lot of code for fun.

    Figure out that people will pay for you to write code, start writing code as a job.

    Figure out that you want to be in control of your own destiny, and start writing code to solve problems that you see. Make no money.

    Figure out that you actually need to solve problems that people see as problems and are willing to pay for solutions for.

    Figure out that even though you’re solving real problems that people are willing to pay for solutions for, no one knows about them.

    Figure out that you can write the most technically brilliant code ever, but if no one knows about the value of your code, it’s worthless because you can’t feed yourself with brilliant code.

    Figure out how to tell people about your products, and how to present them in a way that people will pick up on and buy.

    Start selling products successfully.

    Spend more time thinking about writing code than writing code.

    After thinking about writing code a lot, write less code.

    Write smarter code.

    Blog more.

    Write better marketing copy.

    Teach others.

    Keep learning.

    Saturday February 15, 2014
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    Consider the source.

    People are always giving us advice, both in our personal and professional lives. It’s unavoidable, unless you’re a hermit. But a lot of advice that you get isn’t actually going to help you. Many people mean well, but they are giving you information based on their own experiences, which will never exactly match yours.

    Always consider the source. Is there an ulterior motive behind the advice? Is the advice something that won’t really work for you, given your situation and your goals, even though it legitimately worked for someone else?

    If a surgeon who specializes in gastric bypass surgery tells you that low carb diets don’t work and that you’ll gain all of the weight back (and more) after you stop the diet, they’re most likely just trying to get more business. If someone tells you that content marketing is the best way to gain an audience online and they’re selling you content marketing courses…. they might be right, but they might be trying to sell you something. If your parents tell you that you should have a baby soon, is it because they actually believe that you should, or do they just want a grand-child to play with? :) If people keep telling you that you should buy a house, is it because you actually should, or is it because they own a house and are jealous that you aren’t tied down to one place like they are?

    Unless you have several data points from different sources that are all saying the same thing or reaching the same conclusions, take all advice with a grain of salt. A lot of advice out there is actually helpful and shared by people who care. Your job is to be aware of why people say the things that they say, and to take the information that best applies to your situate, which only you can decide.

    Start with this post! I’m giving you advice. Consider the source.

    Friday January 3, 2014
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    It's ok to take your foot off of the gas pedal.

    Since I launched my first web app in 2006, I’ve had my foot on the gas. Since then, I’ve built, or been one half of building 13 other web and/or iOS apps. It’s only been 7 years. I guess you can say I have a lead foot.

    For most of that time, I’ve been creating my own stress.

    I’ve been stressed out for most of that time. Either I’m stressed out that I’m not building fast enough, or that something is breaking and I have to fix it, or that some customers are driving me up a wall, or that someone on a project isn’t pulling their weight and putting more of a burden on me. Some people are never going to be as crazy about building products as I am. I can’t expect them to be. I’m not going to spend so much time worrying about things that I can’t change. I’ve realized that the majority of that stress is stress that I put on myself. 

    I’ve long known that if I took my foot off of the gas, not much would change. If I didn’t stress out about getting to every single customer immediately, not much would change. A customer will be almost as happy about getting a response from me if I get to them within an hour or several, instead of immediately, and I’ll be a whole lot less stressed out about having to immediately get back to people. Not everything is an emergency. It’s taken me this long to really internalize it, though.

    Even though I’ve known for a long time that I shouldn’t be building my apps to meet every person’s needs, it’s been very hard to say no to people, because someone has a need and is paying me for a product, and I’ve felt a personal kind of responsibility and pressure to build whatever they want. No more. For the past year or so, I’ve still been listening to customer requests, but I’ve been considering the long-term ramifications of every feature, and prioritizing the development of feature requests that will benefit most, if not every user of my apps. It is helping to keep me sane. For awhile there, I forgot that the point of building products is to give me the freedom to build the things that I want to see in the world… to be able to say no to things if they don’t fit my long-term vision, and to not have thousands of bosses.

    There was never enough time because I wasn’t making enough time.

    I have been using a GTD app since 2008. Or maybe the right word is abusing. I’ve been using it all wrong. I separated things into projects at first, but then that devolved into a state where I was just dumping everything new into my Today folder, when I knew full well that I’d never get all of those things done in any given day, especially since I would remove 2 things and add 5. At the end of every day, I would feel like a failure, even though I had obviously set myself up for it.

    When it got to 80 items recently, I said enough is enough, and decided to make time every day to sort out my to-do list. Every night I get a notification to review my list and get my Today list ready for the next day. Starting the day with 5-10 items is a lot more realistic, and sometimes I actually get to all of them now!

    I’m giving myself permission to slow down. To get in the slower lane. To pull over to the side of the road, get out of the car, and walk around. I feel much better already. You should try it.

    You will feel better too.

    Friday December 13, 2013
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    Hey. You.

    You know that thing that you’ve been putting off, that thing you know that you should do but haven’t done yet?

    Not that thing. You know the thing. Yeah, that one. That phone isn’t going to make that call for you. That email isn’t going to write itself. That code isn’t going to get written without you. The only person who can make it happen is you. It’s just going to sit on your list forever and weigh on your mind until you do it.

    Do it. Do it now.

    When you’re on the other side of it, you’ll feel much better, I promise! You’ll wonder why it took you so long to just do it.

    Monday December 9, 2013
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    The Middle.

    Lots has been written about launching your first app, and lots has been written about people with successful apps. But who is writing about the time in between? Who is writing about the much longer period of time where you’ve launched an app, found product market fit, and are slowly climbing the path to freedom?

    Let’s call it the middle. The time where you’re not making enough money to quit your day job, but you have enough customers to need to do real customer support.

    Here’s what it feels like: You don’t know what you’ll wake up to… Maybe lots of your customers will have an issue, because your VPS provider restarted one of your servers in the night and it didn’t come back online properly.

    Maybe an important potential customer has an important sales question for you, and you’ll need to drop everything to deal with that, because that one customer would double your revenue.

    Maybe you’ll actually get to spend the day writing code, like you used to before you realized that there’s a LOT more that you have to do to make your business successful, and if you code it, they won’t necessarily come.

    Maybe you’ll have absolutely no support to do, and you’ll momentarily freak out because you think that your help desk software is broken.

    You feel like a ping-pong ball, bouncing from one thing to the next, trying to keep everything in the air at once.

    But, it also feels GREAT.

    You’re making progress.

    Every month, your dreams become more real.

    Your business is growing.

    You can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    You have real customers paying you real money to solve real problems.

    You’re having conversations with customers who love your product so much that they take the time to let you know how much they do.

    It’s freaking awesome.

    Tuesday October 1, 2013
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    Sometimes your customers won't ask for support, even if they need it.

    Recently we rolled out a feature in our apps where where active users get asked how they feel about our apps, and they can pick how they feel and optionally provide a reason why they feel that way. This is already proving to be a great touch-point for knowing how our customers feel about our app over time, and measuring their sentiment.

    Retained Sentiments

    Something that we didn’t realize before we put this feature into production was that our users would use the opportunity to let us know about issues that they were having, but didn’t feel was worth opening a support request for. We’ve already been getting great comments about things that people are having issues with, things that we should add, and things that they like. The thing is: we have support links on the top of every page of our apps. Our customers could have told us any of this at any time, but they didn’t until we asked them.

    So, take some time and ask your users how they feel about your app (or specific features of your app) on a regular basis. You just might be surprised at the conversations and insights that come out of it.

    Thursday September 12, 2013
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    Find new markets by analyzing your existing customers.

    A lot of times, I’ve wondered how to get more customers for the apps that I run. I’ve done a few different things to solve that particular problem, but one of the simplest has been to take a close look at my current customers. These are people who see enough of a need for my product that they are already paying me. That’s a great indicator of who I should be focusing my sales/marketing on, because a lot of times when I’ve built something for one type of customer another customer in a different industry discovers my app and sees a use for it. Going through your list of paying customers, then identifying their industries and how they are using your product to solve their needs can give you valuable insight on how to expand your market.

    For instance, we built Dispatch to pull information out of emails and send that information either directly to other systems where it’s needed, or to perform different actions using that information. One of our customers is using it in a completely different way than we imagined. They have a copy machine in their office that can send image attachments via email, so they added their Dispatch email address to their copy machine, and now every time they scan something in a specific way, the copy machine emails Dispatch, Dispatch processes the email, pulls off the image and adds it to their Zendesk account. I never imagined that sort of use for Dispatch when we built it, but it’s solving a real business need.

    Are My Sites Up White Label was built for web agencies who want an easy way to make recurring revenue from their existing customers. Recently I’ve found that other tech-related business types that have an existing base of customers, such as computer repair companies also see a need for that sort of service. So now we are working on targeting/better serving those types of customers.

    Let your current paying customers inform your marketing decisions when you’re looking to expand your market. It’ll give you a head start!

    I'm working on a new product called Retained. I'm taking what I've learned from years of running successful web apps, and using it to build an app that will help you be more effective at running your own web apps, communicating with your customers, retaining existing customers, and attracting more. I'll also be sending out free information from time to time about the things that we do to retain our customers at Sense Labs. If you'd like to keep more of your web app's users, sign up here!
    Tuesday July 23, 2013
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    The best ways to retain your customers: Part 1: Let them know that you're always adding value.

    In the old days (haha), and even now, when software is delivered to an end user directly for them to run on their own devices, they can clearly see version numbers and a list of what’s been changed/added in each version. This allows them to not only see what’s changing in the app, it allows them to clearly tell when the app has changed, and decide if the features are worth paying for.

    With web applications, the lines are a lot more fuzzy. Some web apps try to go with version numbers for new releases (Mailchimp, I’m looking at you), but that doesn’t really work out in the fast-paced world of today’s web apps, where you might deploy new code several times per day. I’ve also seen web apps that send out whole emails with multiple links pointing to multiple blog posts about all of the new things that have been added. There are 2 problems with those: Firstly, you probably won’t reach your customers at the right time/in the right context, and secondly, if the email is too long, it’ll probably get ignored or deleted.

    What your customers really need to see… what will help to keep them around as happy users, is for them to be told at the right time, in plain English: what has been added/changed, and how it can help them.

    So what’s the right place/context to let your users know that your app has gotten some cool new features? While they’re using the app, of course. The best example of something like this that I’ve seen has been Wufoo’s Since You’ve Been Gone feature. It shows users who log in a list of features/enhancements that have been added since their last visit. This keeps users informed at the point when they care most about your app, because they’ve just logged in. They’re much more likely to read and engage with your new features, just because you picked a great place/time to inform them.

    At Sense Labs/Shiftedfrequency, we wanted something like this that we can use across all of our apps, so we’re making a version of this feature that any web developer can use for free, and making it one of the first features of our customer retention app: Retained. Over time, we’ll be developing more and more features that use what we’ve learned over our years of making successful web apps with thousands of happy customers to help other web app owners to do the same. Interested in being one of the first people to use Retained?

    I'm working on a new product called Retained. I'm taking what I've learned from years of running successful web apps, and using it to build an app that will help you be more effective at running your own web apps, communicating with your customers, retaining existing customers, and attracting more. I'll also be sending out free information from time to time about the things that we do to retain our customers at Sense Labs. If you'd like to keep more of your web app's users, sign up here!
    Sunday July 14, 2013
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    Quick Coding Tip

    When I’m winding down on coding for the day, it helps me greatly if I take a minute (or even a few seconds) to write out exactly what I’m going to do when I pick things up the next time. It saves me a ton of time by letting me not have to figure out where I left off. I can just jump in with a pretty good idea of where to go and what to write.

    Sunday July 14, 2013
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    Thank your customers.

    Awhile back, before the Internet was a glimmer in anyone’s eye, if you ran a business, chances are pretty good that you knew your best customers well. When you saw them, you might ask if they wanted the usual, and you’d get to know them on a more personal level because you saw them in real life and had real conversations. You’d know the names of their children, what their preferences were, and more. These relationships, paired with a good product are things that kept your customers coming back. It also made them more understanding if/when you had inventory issues, when service wasn’t up to the usual standards, or when someone else came along who did the same thing, perhaps even for a cheaper price. You said “thank you” face-to-face when they made a purchase.

    The Internet has made a world where anyone with the skills and the ambition to start a web business can easily start one in a short period of time and make money from customers all around the world. It’s revolutionary, and it’s an awesome world to live in.

    However, as people who run web apps, we haven’t had the same sort of connection to our customers. We see hundreds, maybe thousands of people signing up for our apps, but other than responding to support requests and making announcements, we don’t really interact with them much. And some of that is a good thing, because you can be available only when someone really needs you, and be out of the way at other times. However, after years of running successful web apps, I’ve learned that the people who I personally connect with are some of my best customers: the ones that are happy to pay me for my app… the ones who tell their friends about it… the ones who stick around for the long haul.

    These days, customers are quick to press the delete button on their account if they have any issue at all, because they don’t know you. From bad experiences with customs support in the past, they assume that there isn’t a human who cares on the other end. What if they knew that you cared before they ran into issues? What if you both knew each other better?

    As we build apps, it’s important to realize that we are building them for people. We’re trying to make their lives better, or their jobs easier. At the end of the day, we’re trying to improve people’s lives. And our customers are giving us money in exchange for our product, so let’s try to be more thankful and tell our customers that we appreciate them. Reach out to them when they sign up for your product with a personal email that thanks them for giving your product a shot. Give your best customers an unexpected discount, with no strings attached. Send out handwritten Thank You cards to people who have been with you for years. Whatever you do, just tell your customers Thank You somehow, on a regular basis. You won’t regret it.

    When Sense first launched Dispatch, to show our first customers that we really appreciated them taking a chance on our app, we sent out handwritten Thank You cards. We still do.

    Tuesday July 2, 2013
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    Users never pay you for your app. Yet you still make money. How?

    If you’ve hung around startup-land long enough, you’ve heard the term “freemium”, which describes a product pricing model where you offer a feature-limited version of your product that has no time limit. Generally, free plans are offered in the hopes that some percentage of users will convert to paid users because either they’ll get far into using the product and decide that they need some feature that’s only available in the paid plans, or they’ll hit some sort of usage limit that you set, in which case they upgrade to paid for more of something that you offer. Conversions generally aren’t that great (as users will go out of their way to not give you money if you’re giving them something for free, such as religiously managing the contents of their 2GB free on Dropbox, or deleting less important photos from a photo sharing service that only lets you see your last 200 photos). However, some small percentage of those users do convert, and you also get good mindshare out of it if you’re big enough, because free users will be aware of your product and may recommend a paid plan to others… therefore your marketing reach is greater. Also, you can officially deputize your free users and make them affiliates, which gives them incentive to promote your product to people who they know, in exchange for a cut of your profits from the sales that they bring in.

    If you aren’t running a SAAS app, but rather creating a downloadable app that people can install on their own servers/hosting, a different way to make money emerges. I’ve long been aware of companies out there who offer a completely free, downloadable software product that has paid support (so if you never need support, you’ll never pay, but if you do, you’ll pay a good bit).

    Until recently, I thought that these were pretty much the only ways to run a software business that offered a product that’s free (for a limited time, or forever) and still make money at the end of the day. I was wrong.

    I came across another model the other day, where a self-hosted app that appeals to a wide market is sold (let’s say shopping cart software, because that can potentially be used by anyone who wants to sell products online). The product is offered completely free to anyone who wants to download it. That makes it spread far and wide quickly, if the app is stable and has a good reputation. You build a community around that app, and add the ability to use third-party modules to add features to your app. Then, once your community/app users has grown to a sizable amount, you charge third parties a lot of money (I’ve seen $18,000-$30,000 so far) for the ability to integrate with your app and/or have their modules preinstalled when a user downloads your app. You’re basically using a free app to build a valuable platform that other companies will pay a lot of money to have access to. You don’t have to sell too many things at $30,000 to make real money, and it’s a way to make money that hides in plain sight. Next time you see this particular model in action, you’ll know exactly what’s going on.

    Monday June 10, 2013