A look back at 2008

This is part one of a two-part post about what happened in 2008 and my plans for 2009.

First, a few numbers about 2008:

  • days in business: 196 - that's 6 months and 13 days, or 28 weeks. See my June 19th launch post here
  • products: 1 - Balsamiq Mockups
  • product variations: 5 - Balsamiq Mockups is on the web (free demo), for your Desktop, for Confluence, for JIRA and for XWiki
  • total individual SKUs: 89 (I fear that's too many, but "give the people what they want" right?)
  • product releases: 5 major ones (1.0 on June 19th,  1.1 on July 20th, Mockups for JIRA on September 9th, Mockups for XWiki on October 5th and 1.5 on December 19th) and countless, almost daily, small ones.
  • total revenue: $162,302 ($39,000 of which in December alone, and growing steadily)
  • total expenses: $29,574 (I have started paying myself one tenth of the previous month's revenue)
  • total paying customers: 1,322 (Mockups for Desktop: 1,259, Mockups for Confluence: 43, Mockups for JIRA: 18, Mockups for XWiki: 2)
  • refunds given: 2 (one customer had problems with an early build and I offered him a refund, and another customer turned out to be a do-gooder after purchase so I gave him his money back)
  • licenses donated: over $100,000 worth (this is hard to calculate precisely because we gave many organizations unlimited licenses for all of their employees)
  • website stats: ~214,000 unique visitors and ~565,000 page views
  • average daily users of the free online demo: ~450
  • blog posts published here: 106
  • products reviews: ~470, overwhelmingly positive (highlights: The New York Times, twice on ReadWriteWeb, 3 or 4 times on Hacker News)
  • Twitter mentions: ~1,000, also overwhelmingly positive
  • GetSatisfaction forums topics: 381, with hundreds of people contributing (I am so thankful!)
  • SEO: I have the top spot on Google for searches for balsamiq, mockups and web office plugins - yay!
  • interviews: 6 (of which 2 podcasts: net@night with Leo Laporte and Amber MacArthur, and Startup Success with Bob Walsh)
  • money raised from investors: $o (the most I was 'in the hole' for was $2,078, back in April)
  • number of employees: 1 - it's still mostly just myself, with my wife Mariah donating some of her time lately to give away licenses
  • hours of work saved to customers: countless ;)

Overall, I couldn't be happier with Balsamiq's first 6 months of operations (and that's a huge understatement).

This little startup has been successful beyond my wildest dreams, an incredible learning experience and the ultimate thrill-ride. For one guy with an idea and a laptop, I think I made quite a splash! ;)

Next, let's talk about 2009, for I am SUPER EXCITED about it! :)

Comments (13)

  1. Wow, truly amazing. Congratulations on such a great year!

    I’m curious – do you count those first six months from the time you started coding or from the time you started selling? My business (http://browsermob.com) has been selling for about 4 weeks now, but coding started ~3 months prior to that. I’d feel a little better about my paltry sales if I knew you were counting from time you started selling :P

    Btw – I saw you were #1 on Google for “mockups”. Congrats! Your blog posts on marketing inspired me to ditch my original Google AdWords plan and to go with a more organic approach. Right now an article I wrote for Ajaxian.com is #5 for “ajax load testing”, but I’m still nowhere near being a top hit for most relative search terms. I guess I have more work to do!

    [Peldi: thanks Patrick! I always count from June 19th, launch day (and first real "full time" workday for Balsamiq Studios). Perhaps I should also count the few months of working at night and on the week-ends, but it's hard to know when I started and hard to quantify how many hours I worked on it. Launch day is easiest for me to remember. Good luck with BrowserMob!]

  2. Very, very impressive.

    I love it when I come across early-stage startups that are actually generating meaningful revenue.

    Congrats.

    -Dharmesh

    p.s. I do think you have too many SKUs. Though segmenting like this does have it’s benefits, I think the complexity cost is usually not worth it.

  3. Congrats on the successes Peldi! It’s always great to see a small operation like Balsamiq really take off. :)

  4. Bravo, you’re an inspiration.

  5. About the website stats: ~214,000 unique per day? per month? per year?

    [Peldi: that's for the year]

    Charles
  6. Great job! A man after my own heart! We started ProWorkflow in a garage, and are still in a garage with a small team and thousands of users globally. High revenue, profitable and no debt. So from one bootstrapper to another – well done!

    Call me anytime to say hi…

    Julian, CEO – ProActive Software

  7. Well done Peldy and Mariah,

    Here in El Salvador, in my office specifically (kind of Education National Bureau ) we are considering giving Balsamiq a try, I show the software to my mates any time I can and they seem to like it.

    also a nice story of support for a couple.

    go on with the success!!!

  8. Startup developer? nah – Rockstar – only most rockstars getting going only dream about the same amount of success, err, over many many years. Proof in the puddin’! Deserved best kudos and same or better success wishes in 2009, Peldi! Sky’s the limit!

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  11. This “radical transparency” is refreshing. If you like this, check out Patrick McKenzie over at http://www.kalzumeus.com/ he gives some great stats on his MicroISV and goes into some detail on AdWords strategy and results.

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