Each blog is different, but the motivation to start each of them was the same: I was entering a new phase of my life, jumping into the unknown, "having a new baby" if you will.
It was a stressful time, a time when I felt the need to process my thoughts by writing them down. I needed a diary.
Looking for advice on each new phase of my life, I googled and googled for a blog just like the one I wanted to read, one of someone who had gone through my same path before me or who was going through it at the same time as I was.
Each time I was looking for an established community, a support group: one about FCS development, one about "parenting in San Francisco in 2005" or one about a "programmer-turned-entrepreneur launching a bootstrapped micro-ISV in 2007".
After many years of using the World Wide Internet Webs I know now that no matter how small, the community you're looking for is already out there, hanging out in some corner of the Internet somewhere. You just have to find it.
Problem is, the Internet is a vast place, small communities are really hard to find. Each time I tried, my googling fell short.
So I decided to try and "get found" instead. Each time I decided to pinch my nose, jump in and publish my rants, in the hope that someone would google for my same kind of content one day and find me.
For PatataMonkey, I was desperate to find a new group of friends quickly: none of our "offline friends" at the time were even married, let alone expecting a child at that time. So as soon as I started the blog, I immediately put Google Adsense ads on it. The hope was that Google's all-powerful algorithms would be able to index and understand my content, returning me advertisements that would lead me to the people I was looking for. Oh mighty Google Spiders, what stores should I be going to? Which sites should I be reading? Is there a blog or forum I should look at?
Well, my nerdy scheme didn't really work out, but the blogging was a very effective therapy for me, so I kept at it.
Then, with time, as if by magic, a community started to emerge, organically, on its own. Someone would post a comment pointing me to a blog I should read, someone else would suggest a book.
All of a sudden blogging wasn't a lonely endeavor any more, I wasn't just speaking to the wind like a crazy person...I had...friends! People just like me, going through the same issues as I was! :) Slowly but surely, a little community gathered around my blog, and I started hanging out at other blogs as well, starting to recognize the names of frequent commenters like me.
I realized then that the Internet is a galaxy of warm little communities held together by blogs, mailing lists and now Facebook and LinkedIn groups, Ning networks, Twitter cliques and StackExchange-powered sites.
I guess people call it social media...I call it life in 2010 and beyond.
I read maybe a dozen different blog posts every day, and most of them teach me something new. My favorite posts to read are those written from the heart, those where you can clearly see that the authors needed to get something off their chest.
That's how I want to write as well: it's therapy that helps me and helps others in the process. Talk about a win-win!
At this point I cannot imagine my life without blogging.
As Paul Hawken says in his awesome "Growing a Business" - one of my all-time favorite business books - in order to be successful you need to get permission of the market first.
I define "the market" as the community of people who are passionate about the problem your company or product is trying to solve. It includes customers, competitors, complementary products, free-loaders. Asking for permission means earning their respect...ideally you need to become a thought-leader in your community.
As you start your blog, ask yourself: which community do I want to try and become a leader of?
Choosing your target should be easy because it should be "people just like me", or rather "people just like the one I hope to become". If you succeed in your quest, great things will happen. If you don't, the high goal you set for yourself will have pushed you to do your best work, teaching you a ton and making you a better person in the process.
It doesn't have to be related to your product, you're not doing this to generate more sales. You're doing this for yourself: to vent, to grow as a person and to be a good citizen.
Sure, if you do a good job your company will benefit from the higher exposure and stuff...but that's a side-effect, not the end-goal!
Becoming a leader in an online community is done by providing value to its members, continuously, over time. It means listening carefully and genuinely caring for the success of your fellow community members, without ever talking down to them - you're no better than them, you're just trying to help. It's hard work, but very fulfilling work. Share what's relevant, but don't spam. Try to keep it short, everyone's busy. Retweet! Make a Twitter list! Make two! Help others find your community, help it grow! Support it by sponsoring the best blogs and events!
Just the simple act of being yourself, but "in public", can make a big difference in someone else's life. You'll be surprised.
At Balsamiq, Everyone Blogs
One of my goals for the year is to encourage everyone at Balsamiq to blog, to try to become a leader of their chosen niche.
My dream is for each Balsamiq employee to be better known within their community for their blog rather than the company they work for.
I want Balsamiq to benefit from the "halo effect" of these blogs, not the other way around.
All of us are first-time members of a tech startup. We are all going through a new phase of our lives, learning a ton every day. What better time than this to share what we learn and find our communities in the process?
This will be challenging at first, this is a new experience for both Val and Marco. I am thrilled at how enthusiastically they both accepted the challenge, and wish them luck. You can read Val's first post here and Marco's first post here (in Italian).
This will also be a significant time-commitment for our little team. Blogging takes time. For instance, it's incredibly 2:15am already as I write this.
I believe the benefits of us all blogging are more than worth it: if you're hesitant, just consider each blog post to be like a product release, only one that doesn't involve coding. It's that important.
Peldi for the Balsamiq team
P.S. Two questions!
I bet there are great resources out there by now to help people find communities online. I've sent people to this old Marshall Kirkpatrick post before, but I'd love to collect a few more links like it. Which do you recommend?
Another question: I am tempted to splinter off my posts into a new blog (/blogs/peldi perhaps), so that this blog could focus only on product-related news. What do you think? I like the idea of giving people more focused RSS feeds, but I fear that it would effectively mean "starting over" a bit. I don't know. What are your thoughts?
Today I'd like to share a little Del.icio.us trick that might be useful for your company. It's something I saw used at Atlassian and that I've been using extensively ever since starting Balsamiq.
An intro to del.icio.us
Most everyone knows what delicious (or del.icio.us) is by now (Wikipedia entry). The bookmark-in-the-cloud service was revolutionary in many ways, it was one of the first social web applications, before "social media" was even a term.
Here's a screenshot of a user's page (click to enlarge):
In essence, delicious lets you save your bookmarks on an account on the delicious (now Yahoo) servers, and "tag them" with keywords for easier searching later on.
This alone is very useful, as it lets you access your same bookmarks from any computer, or even just different browsers on the same computer. The tag system helps you find old links quickly, which is extremely useful as we collect more and more bookmarks over the years.
I suspect the vast majority of delicious users only use the service this way, blissfully ignorant of how their own personal use contributes to the larger, social aspect of the tool.
The thing is, by default everyone's bookmark lists and associated tags are publicly accessible by anyone. Ha! :)
Seeing other people's bookmarks
So for instance you can go to delicious.com/garyvee to see all of the bookmarks Gary Vaynerchuck has ever saved there, or delicious.com/joshua to see what the creator of del.icio.us is bookmarking these days.
You can even "refine your search" by going to delicious.com/joshua/food to see every bookmark related to food bookmarked by Joshua Schachter.
This automatic-sharing and easy-filtering is pretty powerful, especially if you consider that those pages have RSS feeds associated with them. Want to be notified whenever Joshua finds another food-related link? Just subscribe to the RSS feed for the page above - an easy way to follow what your heroes deem worthy of bookmarking.
Another page you can go on is delicious.com/popular, to see what people are bookmarking today. A great way to find what the world thinks "the best of the Internet" is today...I suspect many journalists watch this page. But I digress...
Searching by Tag
Just like you can search a user's bookmarks, you can also search bookmarks by tag. So for instance if you go to delicious.com/tag/scuba, you'll see a list of links that people find interesting about it, sortable by "most recent" and "most popular", each sorted view with an RSS feed for it.
The Problem: Organizing Your Company Press Mentions
Say your team created a product, or a web app, or what-have-you. Obviously you'll want to keep tabs on when your product is mentioned on the web. Using RSS coupled with search results is a great way to do it, which I describe in this old blog post.
Now the problem is: as you collect new mentions of your product on your feed reader, how do you categorize them, save them for posterity and share the categorized list with your colleagues and the world? Also, if there are a few of you in charge of keeping track of these mentions, how do you make sure the categorized list doesn't have duplicates? Doing it manually, even on a wiki page, is enormously time-consuming. Believe me, I tried it.
This is where del.icio.us can step in to help.
The trick to make it all work is simple: as you start collecting links about whatever you're tracking, add them all to delicious, using a tagging system you have internally agreed upon.
I saw a browser open to that page with the corner of my eye on my first visit to Atlassian, and it immediately made me realize how awesome they are as a company. :)
See, all they had to do was to tell every employee: "if you see a mention of Atlassian anywhere on the web, add it to delicious with the atlassian_press tag".
Brilliantly simple to explain, to remember and to do.
The cool thing is that as people do that, delicious adds all the links to the page above, automatically collating it into a single list without duplicates - instead, it shows how many people bookmarked that same link, giving you an indication of how popular that particular link was (useful if you want to advertise on that particular blog for instance, or even just thank the blogger/journalist who wrote the piece).
Additionally, you can see the number of bookmarks on the list at any time (including when you add a new tag), which can be useful sometimes (you could even track this over time!).
Using a public service to maintain that list also speaks volumes about what kind of company you are: you're telling the world: "here's what the Internet thinks about us, feel free to make your own opinion of our company by reading it."
Open, confident, honest. Brilliant.
Wait, how can you be sure that the list is complete and not censored? A company might decide to only tag good reviews, ignoring the bad press. The short answer is "you can't", but remember that anyone can contribute to the list, and the effort required to police it would far outweigh the benefits of using delicious this way. Plus, a Google, Google Blog, Google News or Twitter search for the same company is just a few clicks away!
In other words, since you can't hide anything on the Internet these days, why even try? I love it love it love it.
Needless to say, I have embraced this practice entirely, and now use a number of tags for each mention of Balsamiq I find on the web.
Our Delicious Tag Lists
Here are the tags we use for bookmarking Balsamiq press, and how we use them.
balsamiq_press (3,263 links at time of writing): this is the "catch-all" tag, the comprehensive list. Every time see something about Balsamiq, I bookmark it with this tag, usually along with one of the tags below. I try to tag everything, the good and the bad. The only thing I do not tag is warez sites offering cracked copy of the software. Sorry, but I'm not going to help you find those... :)
balsamiq_reviews (1,554 links): any time I see a review of Mockups, I use this tag. I also use it if the link is not a full-blown review but it contains a sentence or more about the product...as long as the author expresses an opinion on the product.
balsamiq_comments (219 links): if I see a mention of Balsamiq as a comment to a blog, or on Friendfeed, digg, Hacker News or any other "forum-like" website, I use this tag instead of the balsamiq_reviews tag.
balsamiq_love (135 links): I reserve this tag for those mentions that shower us with love. ;) The goal here is to keep a list from which to cull customer quotes to use on this website. These quotes are better than ones received via email, as you don't need to ask permission to use them - it's already public knowledge!
balsamiq_puzzle (24 links): I'll write about this "puzzle" thing in another post. It's basically articles that are about stuff we do that's not related to our core competency. Just know that we're trying to earn as many as these kind of links as possible. :)
balsamiq_sightings (28 links): I use this one whenever I come across something that was made with Mockups, even if they don't mention it. I love to spot these! If you come across any and have the time, add it to delicious with balsamiq_sightings, ok? Thanks!
balsamiq_videos (9 links): I use this tag for those reviews that include screencasts, or for our own videos.
balsamiq_jobs (10 links): apparently knowing how to use Mockups has become an requirement for some jobs, which I find amusing because Mockups takes about 5 minutes to learn, or so we hear ;) This is a cool list for you to keep tabs on in case you're a Mockups expert and are looking for a job!
The beauty of having the lists above is that they can be used on many different occasions. For instance, we link to the balsamiq_love and balsamiq_press lists straight from our testimonials page. We also show the RSS from the balsamiq_reviews page on the side-bar of our blog.
I also recently added the RSS feed for balsamiq_press to our OPML file, so if you're interested in keeping track with our own output as well as what the Internet says about us (hi mom!), you can now get it all in one convenient package.
To wrap it up: we've been very happy with this little delicious trick and continue to find new uses and benefits from it all the time. We recommend it!
What do you think? Do you do something similar? How do you track your product's mentions?
Big shout-out to Laura Khalil at Atlassian for inadvertently showing this to me. ;)
Hi there, I thought I'd celebrate my 999th Twitter follower with a little blog post I've wanted to write for a while.
Back when I first started using Twitter, I treated it mostly as an extension of my blog, a marketing channel for announcements and customer service in case someone wanted to contact me that way.
Then I discovered Summize (now search.twitter.com) and the fact that you could get RSS feeds of the search results, and was amazed by its great marketing potential.
I started scanning Twitter for mentions of keywords related to my product and sent @-messages to people who I thought would benefit from using it. To make it clear I was trying to sell them something, I would start my Tweets with $$, a convention I came up with (and that I've seen a few others pick up, but it never really spread). Here's the full blog post about it: "$$ tag for Twitter ads? I want to pay for Twitter!", in which I declare that I'd be willing to pay Twitter $1 for each of these $$-tweets, thus solving Twitter's elusive business plan in the bargain. ;)
The best idea to came out of that whole post came in a comment by guruz from p300.eu, who suggested that 50 cents of that dollar could go to Twitter but that the remaining 50 cents should go to the receiver of the unsolicited Twitter message. Now that would be nice: getting paid to be advertised to? I want to live in such a World! :)
I have to say I felt like I was threading a fine line with the $$-tweets, so I was as cautious as I could be with them - I think I sent maybe a dozen total, and from a separate @balsamiqads account, as you can see for yourself. Nonetheless, my idea made some waves and I was even interviewed by Bob Walsh about it for his "Twitter Survival Guide" e-book.
As a way to be able to get to read the book for free ;) I also did an editorial review of it for Bob, and that's where my Twittering really turned a corner.
The best part of Bob's book, IMHO, are the interviews (minus mine, I guess, sorry about that). Specifically the one to Ben Metcalfe (@dotben) made me realize that I really wasn't getting Twitter at all. Buy the book just for that interview, it's worth it.
My use completely missed the social and collaborative nature of Twitter. In other words, why should anyone follow me when everything I do is pimp my product or spam people with unsolicited tweets?
At the same time, I started following @timoreilly, and noticing how much I was getting out of it. Most of his messages are Re-Tweets (RTs) of news that are interesting to me, he is acting as a human filter for his followers. What was I doing for my followers? Not much.
So I started slowly retweeting UX-related Tweets and others that I thought my be helpful. At some point someone pointed out the excellent TwitterSheep, which generates a tag cloud based on the Twitter bios of the people that follow you. Here's mine:
Now that I know that most of my followers are web developers and software entrepreneurs I can cater my retweets to them and provide a better service.
Another aspect of Twitter that I was completely neglecting is the fact that Twitter can be so much better than Google sometimes. For instance, I once vented on Twitter about having spent hours setting up a mail server on my server. Within minutes I received a bunch of tips and links which would have saved me an afternoon of pain had I asked beforehand.
Asking for the Twittersphere's help is still not second-nature to me, but I'll try to remember to do it more in the future. I believe people generally like to help others, and I know I've answered a few questions in the past.
I have also started to have very interesting conversations about my product via Twitter, but I suspect FriendFeed might be a better venue for those (I have to admit I still don't "get" Friendfeed yet, no matter how much I listen to @scobleizer rave about it).
Last but not least, just today I searched Twitter for Freshbooks before deciding whether to subscribe to their service or not, to see what people thought about them. I was pleasantly surprised to find @freshbooks had an active account, and impressed that they responded to one my tweets, and with a sense of humor, too! I am now a happy Freshbooks customer.
In case you're wondering about the $$-tweets, I have completely stopped with those, for three reasons:
I have seen others use Twitter this way (I was even on the receiving end of a marketing tweet), and I gotta say, it's pretty yucky. Even if you have the best intentions, you're intruding into someone else's semi-private lifestream without asking first. Now, if recipients got 50 cents or more out of it, I'd be OK with it (you're paying for your intrusion)...but as it stands, I'm not going to do that any more.
I don't have time to scan Twitter for much of anything any more, my time is much better spent elsewhere. In fact, if you have time to do $$-tweets, you're either a community manager at a large company or you're desperate for attention (which I was when I just started). Sadly, it shows.
In a way this is very conforting, it means I can go back to focusing on making the best product possible (a product worth suggesting to your friends and followers), leaving the marketing to take care of itself.
I'll leave you with a screenshot of my second monitor...Snackr at the top, TweetDeck is the left half, then Twhirl (for my @peldi account), then Skype and Adium.
...all applications I can't seem to live without but that I love to QUIT, as it means I'm getting ready to get productive for a while.
All in all, Twitter rocks. Thanks for changing the World for the better @jack! :)
Update: the fine folks at TwitterCounter.com were kind enough to send me a csv with my Twitter followers history over time, here it is with annotations:
Dharmesh Shah is one of those names that keeps coming up for me. In the startup/entrepeneurship books I read, in the blogs I follow, on Twitter...and his quotes are usually very smart and to the point. Foolishly, I never bothered investigating more about Dharmesh until two days ago, when he popped up again, this time by leaving a comment on my very own blog!
I have also been following @OnStartups on Twitter for months but somehow never made the connection in my head.
Although it's a bit all over the place (apparently he had the wrong deck), I really liked the talk, mostly because there's more than a few little nuggets that I had never heard before, or at least never heard expressed as clearly before, like "partnerships when you're first starting up? don't do them", which confirmed a hunch I had in my gut.
Highly recommended. I am going to be following Dharmesh's advice more closely from now on. You should too.
P.S.Oh, great, now I see that Dharmesh is the developer behind the excellent Twitter Grader as well...see what I mean? The guy's everywhere! :) Reminds me of a great Steve Martin quote: "Be so good they can't ignore you" (minute 52, also a great video to watch).
This is so wild...watch the video below...I could have given the exact same talk! OK, probably a lot less eloquently, but I am amazed at how closely what Jason Fried says maps to my thoughts about software and Balsamiq.
One thing that they do differently from me is to jump straight into HTML+CSS for their Mockups. I still think that's too time-consuming compared to using Mockups to flesh out your UI ideas. I do agree that you don't really need more than a mockup, or a set of mockups, as a spec.
If you think about it, this is all just common sense. Hats off to 37Signals for turning common sense into a great self-marketing tool! Only in this crazy industry... :)
And before you comment with jabs that balsamiq.com looks a lot like 37Signals.com, you should know that the design is mine, I have the Illustrator file to prove it! ;) I designed the site at what I think was peak of my "37Signals fan-boy" phase, so I'm not surprised if it comes across as heavily inspired by it. I like the text-heavy, readable style, what can I say? (I'm actually not very satisfied with the site's navigation structure, I'll work on it as soon as I have some free time).
Anyways, thanks to 37Signals for speaking for all of us small bootstrapped lifestyle ISVs who like to solve small problems really well! :)
First off, the title of this post is a bit pretentious for my taste, but I wanted to pay homage to Mike Speiser's excellent post on A/B testing using AdWords, and take advantage of his $10.87 investment while I was at it! ;). Mike is one of the brightest people I have ever met, and I highly encourage everyone to read his Laserlike blog.
I say that the post is pretentious for my taste because I hardly feel like I am a marketing expert, in fact I consider myself a beginner at most things. Still, I can't deny that Balsamiq has received a very good amount of coverage in the blogosphere: I am timing this post to coincide with the 100th review of Balsamiq Mockups (the full list is here), the website has received over 32,000 unique visitors and sales are exceeding all my expectations. For 6 weeks of operation, I can't complain. ;)
A few people have asked me to share how I did it, so here it is.
Follow The Advice of The Masters
The first thing I did when I was getting ready to launch was run Google searches on variations of "how to get a major blog to cover you".
Aside from those articles, I read a bunch of books over the last few months which had something to say on the subject: Bob Walsh's excellent book and e-book are especially useful for coders like me.
Send Direct Emails
In preparation for launch, I sent maybe around 40 direct emails to bloggers I thought might want to cover me. I had a list of such blogs handy: most of the blogs I read every morning apply. (with the notable exception of TechCrunch, which I never submitted to since all they care about is VC-money-madness and I'm staying away from that, Balsamiq is a bootstrapped small business, not a startup in Paul Graham's sense of the word) [UPDATE: strikethrough after a lesson learned].
Once you have a list, forget your inhibitions and just email the blogger to their preferred email address (or submt to their "contact us" form, whatever they suggest).
Note that I also sent emails to "mavens" who didn't have a blog but maybe wrote a book that was relevant or are just huge superstars like Jason Fried or Guy Kawasaki - yes, I emailed them both, and they both replied, being the class acts they are. I am never washing my Inbox again! ;)
Here's the email template I used:
A tool youmightbeinterested in: Balsamiq Mockups
[insert a paragraph thanking the blogger for their work]
[insert a paragraph in which you explain why you think this email is relevant to their blog]
I am preparing to launch a prototyping tool that you and your readers mightbeinterestedin, so I thought I'd share it and perhaps get some of your expert feedback on. Here's the info if you're interested: http://www.balsamiq.com - You can find info on Balsamiq Mockups and my company from there.
Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about it. I'd be happy to send you a license so that you can evaluate the desktop version better, if you'd like.
[optional] One note: I am still in stealth mode, so I'd appreciate it if you didn't blog about Balsamiq until June 19th.
If you are reading this and were on the receiving end of an email like this, forgive me for sending you a templated email...but I sent 40+ of these puppies and efficiency is a must for a one-man startup like mine! :)
What I like about the template above is that it's fairly short, informative enough, respectful (not begging), it includes a way for the blogger to contact me (look at the signature), and offers the blogger something special (a free license), which is an incentive to reply and start a conversation.
Just remember that bloggers are just people, sure they are insanely busy and hugely influential people, but still people like you and me. And they are always, always looking for interesting content.
I think I roughly had a 20% success rate with those emails (i.e. 2 in 10 resulted in a write-up), which I am very happy with.
I sent most of those right before launch, but I occasionally still send emails like that out once in a while if I run into a site that I like and seems relevant.
Inject Yourself in the Conversation
Another thing that has worked for me is what I call "injecting myself in the conversation". As I was looking for bloggers to contact, I found some posts/articles that were extremely relevant to what I was doing. In other words, these are posts that people looking for a tool like mine would find and read.
The thing to note is that I only ever add a comment if I think it will be useful for the readers of that blog post, the last thing I want to do is spam (man do I hate blog spam with a passion!). If it's only mildly relevant, I pass.
Another thing I do to track relative conversation is make extensive use of RSS coupled with Twitter. Here's a post on Making RSS work for your micro-ISV I wrote on the subject.
This incredibly direct way to advertise has been very successful, resulting in multiple reviews and sales.
It basically allows you to contact people who are looking for you, moments after they expressed their need for your solution (i.e. when they need you most).
In other words, if you are a PR firm and don't have a Twitter strategy, it's time to get one, fast.
Give stuff away!
This is really a case of "the more you give, the more you get".
Give to bloggers
Everyone likes free stuff, but you have to be careful, as giving free stuff to journalists can be considered a form of bribery.
The way I deal with it is to make it a company policy, clearly stated on my website. If you are a blogger, you get a free license. Period. You have no obligation towards me. I have no control on what you write: in fact, a critical review is sometimes more useful to me than a glowing one.
Also, by its nature the demo version is limited in functionality, so a full license is required to fully evaluate the product in order to write about it.
Give to bloggers to give away
Bloggers love to give away free stuff, as it makes their blog more popular. In preparation for the 1.1 release, I emailed all the bloggers who had requested a license and offered them an extra license key to give away to their readers, as a promotion.
I am SO happy to be giving away so many licenses to non-profits and other do-gooders in the world. I don't have much to give, but somehow managed to create a tool that people find valuable. So I am extremely happy and proud of the fact that all these do-gooders use my software to do good in the World. It gives me motivation to keep going.
For the more cynical of you, giving away to do-gooders is also good for business: first of all, most non-profits are poor and chances are they wouldn't be buying your tool if they had the money (they'd use it for something more important), so it's not like you are "spoiling" a potential customer. On top of that, non-profits have lots of contacts in the for-profit world, and are good for your company's image. But none of this matters to me, the World needs more do-gooders and I'm happy to help them in any way I can.
Give to everyone!
I offer a free version of Mockups on this site or download a demo version of Mockups for Desktop. Sure they are limited in functionality and nag you every five minutes, but they are still useful for the occasional mockup. You can export your work as XML and save it to a text file if you want to continue working on it later or create more than one. So in other words, they are fully functional versions, just not super-convenient versions.
I give these away because I believe people should have access to my tool if they really need it and can't afford it, and to allow people to try before buying.
The fact that these versions exist gets mentioned a lot in the blog reviews, as bloggers like to help others find good free stuff.
Make it fast!
I give away about a dozen licenses every day, so I have to make it as fast as possible. I wrote a little application that allows me to send someone a license with only a few clicks. All I do is select the person's name (from their email), copy it, paste it in the application, click "generate key", and what I get is not only the key, but a pre-populated email like this one:
Hi there, here's your license info:
Download URL: http://www.balsamiq.com/products/mockups/desktop#download
Organization name: test test
Serial Key: [redacted]
I have some assets you can use here: http://www.balsamiq.com/company#forbloggers if you'd like.
I'll add test test to my Customers page in the next few days.
Enjoy Balsamiq Mockups and thanks for the good you're doing in the World!
Enjoy Balsamiq Mockups and thanks for spreading the word, I am looking forward to reading your review!
The app automatically puts that email in my clipboard, so all I need to do is go back to gmail, hit reply, paste, delete the lines that don't apply and hit send.
The whole process takes me about 15 seconds. Efficiency is everything! :)
Blog Blog Blog
The chart above shows the number of visitors to balsamiq.com since launch. The two highest peaks happened the day after two blog posts, both about Balsamiq's financial results. The second post resulted in the RWW review mentioned earlier. Some of my blog entries get a lot more traffic than other site pages, and I suspect this post will as well.
In other words, blog, blog blog! :)
AdWords? What's that?
So far I have spent exactly $0 on marketing (I don't even have an AdWords account). Sure I have put some serious time into the website and the marketing efforts described above, and given lots of free licenses away, but out of pocket, I have spent nothing so far. I might explore it when I need it, but so far it hasn't been necessary.
Again, I feel a bit uncomfortable passing the above as advice...take it for what it is, a description of what I have done so far. Implement at your own risk! ;)
I really feel that the Internet has kept its promise: anyone can reach a very wide audience, all it takes is a computer, an Internet connection, some readily available know-how and some old fashioned elbow grease. :)
If you are reading this because you are about to launch a new product, good luck to you, and don't forget to have fun with it!
UPDATE: once again this post sparked an interesting discussion on Hacker News. Read it and learn about my prejudices and insecurities (bad) and lessons learned (good) :)
So whenever someone writes about balsamiq or contacts one of balsamiq's online persona's pages, it shows up on my iGoogle home page within minutes.
This allows me to know how my brand/product is perceived and most importantly provide customer service within seconds, no matter how people decide to publish their opinion about my company (web sites, blogs, news articles, twitter or Facebook).
Anything else you can think of that I should be tracking via RSS?
Hi this is Peldi from Balsamiq. This blog is a mixture of product updates, company updates and posts about my experiences as a programmer-turned-entrepreneur. If you're into 37Signals and A Smart Bear, this blog is for you.