Welcome Drew Lafferty and Lizelotte Green!

Hello, friends of Balsamiq! Our not-so-little-anymore team keeps on growing!

Today I would like to introduce to you our two new team members: Drew Lafferty and Liz Green!

Drew Lafferty


Drew is a jack-of-all-trades Developer / DevOps, based in Chicago, Illinois.

Drew Lafferty

He loves working full stack and diving into both front-end and back-end code, as well as learning about new web technologies and anything Ops related.

His main responsibility is to be the lead developer of Olio, our home-grown CRM web app.

On top of that, he's something close to an "IT guy" for us: if anyone has a technical question or needs some programming help, Drew's there to help.

We received over 200 applications for this job position and met some great people in the process. After three rounds of interviews, it became clear that Drew was the one who had the right combination of experience, skills, shared interests, location and culture fit for this particular job position.

Drew is already becoming an integral part of our team. It's such a luxury having him around!

Lizelotte Green


Lizelotte goes by Liz, and her job title is "Tier 2 Sales Support and Product Manager for CRM". It means that she's going to become our in-house expert on how we sell our different products, and work with Drew to make Olio as powerful and easy to use as possible for our sales support team.

Liz Green

Again, we received over 200 applications for Liz's position and met some really great candidates, who we hope to cross paths again with in the future.

We are ecstatic with having chosen Liz, though: she's smart, detail-oriented, enthusiastic, warm, driven and independent. She's also based out of Chicago, which gives her ample time to overlap with our CET and PST sales support team members.

You can find Drew and Liz's contact info on our company page.

Please join us in welcoming them to the Balsamiq family by adding a comment below!

Onward!

Peldi

P.S. BTW, we're not stopping here. We'll have more hiring-related announcements in the future, stay tuned here and keep checking our jobs page regularly!

    Balsamiq Summer Camp: How We Planned Our 2016 Retreat

    Annual retreats have become an essential part of working together at Balsamiq. From our first gathering as an entire company in 2010, we realized seeing each other face to face is an essential part of building awesome relationships in our distributed team.

    This year Joy and I had the absolute pleasure of planning the retreat in Sonoma County, California where I live. Judging by the smiles on our co-workers' faces, we're pretty sure it went well!

    We'd love to share some of the things that went into planning it, some things we loved, and of course what we learned from the experience. We hope you find our ideas (or lessons learned) useful in planning your company retreat.

    Balsamiq Team in costumes

    Find the Right Location

    Location is by far the most critical part of the retreat. We've chosen the general location in different ways. This year was based on a contest we had in 2014 where we submitted proposals, like Olympic Games bids. France won for 2015, but second place was Sonoma County.

    There is a lot of logistical information to consider when choosing the location:

    • How much travel time is involved? (This includes getting the team there but also travel to get to activities. We learned in 2012, that we didn't want to spend too much of the retreat in the car).
    • What kind of housing is available? (The two most essential elements are decent Internet and comfortable sleeping arrangements, but after that, there are a whole variety of pros and cons to consider for each housing option).
    • What is there to do and eat in the area? (New experiences are of course important elements to any retreat, as well as good eating!)

    We already had a retreat in California in San Francisco in 2013, but after visiting the beautiful countryside together in Le Marche, Italy in 2011 and 2014 I was enthusiastic to show off some beautiful landscapes here in California too.

    I chose Guerneville, CA, which is nestled in the redwoods in the Russian River Valley. It's near the ocean, the oak woodlands, and the many vineyards of Sonoma County; it's a tiny town, with some great restaurants, and having been a vacation resort area for over a hundred years, still offers some quirky old California charm.
    A view of Guerneville
    For housing, we've enjoyed staying away from more corporate style resorts or hotels. We like the family atmosphere, but at 21 people, we have pretty much outgrown large homes (and even the castle last year had some housing issues!)

    Luckily after a lot of Googling, plus the benefit of doing a few site visits since I live nearby, we found Fern Grove Cottages, which worked fantastically. With 21 cabins built in the 1920's which have a total of 24 bedrooms, we had the entire little village to ourselves, and plenty of personal space too (most of the cabins have private decks, a separate living room, and fireplaces, and few have small kitchens.)

    Ferngrove Cottages

    The owners Jenny and Sherman made the experience very personable, which is something we love. We know finding something like this is going to be a challenge as we grow. We may have to jump to a regular hotel next year, but we hope even then to maintain the cozy, family feeling we've grown to love. (If you know of a great place with a family-like spirit that has rooms for at least 25, please let us know!).

    The actual location was just perfect for us: we had all the space, not disturbing anyone (except probably the owners), each of us had our privacy, but there was also space to spend time together.- Anna

    Balsamiq-village

    Listen to Everyone's Needs

    Another thing we've learned over the years is having a large number of people actively planning the details of the retreat can be difficult. Making decisions can take a long time in particular, so in the last few years, we've had a very small team doing the actual organization. However, we don't think that means the entire team can't be involved in the process.

    Here are some ways we incorporated our team's ideas:

    • Old feedback: Joy and I looked at previous years' feedback. We collected it for a reason, so it's good not to forget to look at it!
    • Ask for new ideas: We asked team members to comment in our wiki at least six months before the retreat to give ideas of things they'd like to happen this year - housing, food, activities, pace, whatever! This was pretty close to feedback from the prior year but was kind of a chance to take a fresh look.
    • Workshops! We started teaching each other random skills in mini-workshops in 2014 and have continued this practice ever since. But this year, asking people to sign up to teach a workshop, actually gave us some group activities for the main schedule and even a meal. (Thanks, Brendan for the excellent instruction on how to make a Chicago Style Hot Dog!)
    • Meal Planning: This is a tricky one. Planning meals for 21 means we can't cater to everyone's specific preferences without making ourselves crazy, but I felt it was important to try to find some manageable way. I made a chart with rather ridiculously detailed categories for people to fill in their food requests.

    Food request

    Provide Information before and during the Retreat

    We provided a wiki page some weeks before the retreat so everyone could have time to pack (and purchase things if needed). This included:

    • General advice on weather and clothes
    • Specific items to bring based on planned activities
    • And general advice on what to pack, and what not to pack.

    We've learned over the years some common questions that come up with packing, so this list is pretty easy to organize. We know, for example, whether or not a hair dryer is present on site is critical information for some of us.

    The other advice not to be left out each year, is a reminder about leaving space in your luggage for gifts. We always have a few retreat goodies (ok, more than a few), and figuring out how to bring them home has made for some creative packing.

    Advice to pack light really saved the day for me.- Luis

    After posting the packing list, some of our team members asked Joy or me some specific questions (like is there a place to do laundry nearby?). Instead of just answering the one colleague, we added details to the information page, just in case it could be useful for all.

    We also created a page in our wiki for each day with very specific details for the day. Our hope was it broke the information up, so people had an easier time finding out what they needed to know or wear for a specific day.

    Because the Internet wasn't always as fast as we'd like, and because we encouraged people to be less digital during the week (since we had the once-a-year chance to be non-virtual with one another!), we also posted a paper copy of some key schedule times in the main breakfast room.

    Our schedule for Day 4

    Get a Theme!

    This was a new element to our retreat this year, and by its popularity, I don't think it will be the last. Joy, Mike, and I met for lunch to do a site visit in Guerneville a few months before the retreat.

    After seeing the town, and the great 1950's cowboy décor of the cottages at Fern Grove, we decided we needed a theme, and it was going to be summer camp. Ideas and images like those from the Moonrise Kingdom soon flew in a private HipChat room. It was a little creative burst that was very enjoyable for us to design together, made the entire week more fun to plan, and I think made the retreat even more memorable for all.

    And so, after our site visit, Camp Paciugo, Guerneville, CA was born.

    Our "Camp Paciugo" swag for the retreat

    A little bit of back story: paciugo (“pah-choo-go”) is an Italian word for a nice mess; for example, when you eat an ice-cream in different flavors and mix them all up, you are creating a paciugo. Paciugo is also the name of the most used chat room in Hipchat, our remote office.

    Our theme permeated our week:

    • we designed a camp logo (thanks, Mike!)
    • our gifts were all summer camp supplies:
      • a forest green camp t-shirt
      • a metal water bottle
      • a canvas messenger bag
      • embroidered camp patches
      • a Pendleton trade blanket embroidered with the Balsamiq logo
      • a five-in-one utensil set
      • a flashlight
    • each cabin was given a name: Wild Turkey Lair (Sax), Baby Deer Hollow (Paolo & Marco), Sparrow Nest (Joy), Bobcat Den (Stefano), Peregrine Falcon Rookery (Brendan & Virgin), etc.
    • and the general theme helped as we decided on what activities to do during the week.
    I loved the Camp Paciugo theme, it reminded me of my Boy Scout days. The blanket is best retreat gift ever, I use it all the time now.- Luis
    I really liked the theme of the "camp" and it had a warm/cozy feeling.- Anna

    Planning Activities and Free Time

    There are often many great activities to choose from, so one of the biggest temptations in planning is to put too much on the schedule. This year it looks like we got it just about right. Here were some of the things we considered while planning:

    • People have come a long way, so we do want to make sure they get out to see the area.
    • We've also come to see each other, so chose activities that provide time for interaction and talking (not too many tours).
    • Make sure there is some unscheduled time each day (we aimed for at least 50% planned and 50% unplanned).
    • Since we still have to answer customer emails, provide time each day where the support team can do that without having to stay up until 2 am.
    • Pay attention to how long it will take to get to the activity. Is it worth the trip?
    • Provide options for easy free time activities (we had five bikes from Fern Grove, pool, public tennis and basketball courts nearby, a couple of puzzles ready to be made, and a variety of board games)

    Happy tennis players

    And of course we also chose things that seemed to be suited for Camp Paciugo! Here they are:

    Loved being able to walk to many things or take only short drives.- Michele
    Well balanced in the time spent for activities and to hang out together. I really loved how I had the occasion to speak and to bond with everybody.- Paolo

    Go Green

    During this retreat we tried to find ways to make our carbon footprint a little smaller by reducing waste. We didn't have a dishwasher available to us, so for the meals we ate at Fern Grove we found a few solutions:

    • Beverages:
      • Individuals used their refillable camp water bottle for tap water.
      • Wine and other glasses were provided in each cottages, and everyone was responsible for taking care of washing and keeping track of their own.
    • Flatware: was provided as a gift and like the glasses, we each washed our own.
    • Plates and napkins: washing is too much because of our facility limitations, so we bought a compostable kind. I made separate garbage for them and brought them back to my compost.

    Personalized glassesWine glass markers were expensive, and didn't come in packs large enough for 21 different glasses. But these vinyl children's stickers were very inexpensive and helped us keep track of our glasses!

    We Got Our Groove On

    Music played a big role this year. Thanks to a disco ball speaker my aunt gave me, our communal Honey Badger Lodge (cabin 7) was transformed into a place for a private Karaoke practice.

    It ended up being a great ice breaker for the week, and we continued our singing at a Karaoke night in town per a workshop activity suggested by Francesca. The balsamici practiced for months for this night, and I hope the locals enjoyed our performances, though I'm pretty sure we should probably keep making software.

    Val also led us in a Hootenanny by the campfire. Joy purchased various kazoos, triangles, and other musical instruments, and we sang acoustically before, of course, making s'mores.

    Campfire time was simple and yet perfectly beautiful. It was nice to just be together with a glowing light, blankets, and some singing.
    Hootenanny

    Embrace the Unpredictable

    There is a lot of unexpected magic that can happen if you don't plan out every moment. Instead, create the space, and the amazing people you are with, just by being together, will make some very memorable moments.

    We had two great unexpected ones this year.

    We like to set some time aside each retreat for team reflection, and this year Luis led us all in a process called Case Clinics. One member of each group of 5 or 6 people was to give a "case" or an issue that they were struggling with at Balsamiq or just personally, and the other people in the group would "coach" them by listening deeply and asking questions. Many of us weren't sure what to expect out of the process. Would it work? Would it be awkward? Would it be beneficial to the coaches or just the case-giver?

    After the 60-minute exercise we all gathered to hear how the experience went for people, without sharing anything in particular about the case itself. I think the most beautiful takeaway, was it seems the process of deeply sharing and deeply listening, brought each group together in a very special and intimate way that we hadn't anticipated.

    And the second experience was at our final dinner together in the stunning Grange loft of SHED.

    Last dinner at the SHED

    Towards the end of the meal, someone started teasing Stefano Brilli that it was a tradition for the newest employee to give a speech. (There, of course, is no such tradition). He, in good faith, got up and gave a touching speech about what it meant for him to join the company. And soon after, Brendan stood up and did the same, and then Virgin. And then one by one, in order of being hired at Balsamiq, we all spoke with much laughter, warmed hearts, and even some tears.

    What started as a joke, ended in one of the most magical evenings we've had at any retreat.

    Probably my favorite moment was the last dinner. You were all there, so I don't need to say much. But things like this just happen once, you know. I'm just glad I was there.- Stefano M.

    And When It's All over, Enjoy the Memories!

    We shared a million pictures with one another, which meant we could laugh and talk about the experiences all over again after we had packed our bags and taken our cars and flights back home.

    If you'd like to see a few photos from our week, we've posted an album on our Facebook page.


    It was a wonderful experience for Joy and me to plan the retreat and even more to watch our colleagues experience it. We collected feedback, good and bad from this year, so next year's team will be ready to go!

    Our newest ideas are: have someone specifically in charge of the Internet connection, who can come prepared to MacGyver solutions onsite, and schedule non-support people in advance to help at meals to make it easy on the retreat organizers.

    We hope one or two of our ideas have inspired you in your retreat planning. Our team is already looking forward to the 2017 Retreat. We're not sure where it will be, but I can't wait to hear the theme!

    Natalie for the Balsamiq Team

      Tools We Use for Social Scheduling

      Hello friends of Balsamiq!

      This is the last installment of our 5-part mini-series of posts about how we do marketing.

      Here's the full list:

      1. The Balsamiq Mantras
      2. The Balsamiq Marketing Checklist
      3. Tools we Use for Brand Monitoring
      4. How We Do Content Discovery
      5. Tools We Use for Social Scheduling.

      Today's topic is Social Scheduling: how to share interesting content with your community without going crazy logging in and out of all of your social media accounts.


      Social Scheduling

      Scheduling your social accounts' activity is crucial if you manage a bunch of them and want to have a steady and consistent stream of updates.

      Finding out a good tool to do the job is vital if you don't want to do it manually. We used to manually post messages on our different social accounts, but it was way too time-consuming.

      Even if there are a lot of tools out there, we still haven't found "the perfect tool" we're looking for: a solution that works well with all the major social media platforms and provides extra features, such as analytics. That's why we currently use 3 different tools for social media scheduling over our main social accounts.


      Buffer (and Hootsuite and Facebook)

      Buffer

      Balsamiq has accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin (Company page and Balsamiq Lovers group), Google+, Instagram - and more will come.

      For Twitter accounts and Google+ we use Buffer. Buffer is like a big 'tank': the first step is to predefine posting schedules for every day of the week - this is its biggest timesaver feature. After that, you just have to write your tweet or message, attach a link (images are optional) and put it into Buffer. When the time comes, Buffer takes the oldest tweet/message from the tank and shares it.

      You can also decide to schedule a message on a particular day and time, if you want - I have a hybrid approach to it, depending on the content I'm sharing.

      You can also drag and drop messages if you need to switch the schedule around.

      What We Like About Buffer:

      • Thanks to the posting time feature, you can schedule posts for weeks in advance (we recently did it to cover our company retreat period) so that your accounts are active and you don't have to think about it. But be careful and check on them, because they are still there and keep going! You may run into a flame or an #epicfail without realizing.
      • It provides easy analytics for every post: this helps us find out the most favorite tweets and what our community likes the most, so that we can share them again after a few weeks for those who missed them the first time:
        buffer-analytics
      • It comes with 5 flexible payment plans, and one of them is free!

      What We'd Like to See Improved:

      • The way Buffer shares content on Linkedin. One year ago I was struggling with Buffer and Linkedin a lot: when I shared a content (consisting of a link and a short comment about it), it ended up with something weird on the Group page: a Linkedin conversation without a title (that means without a URL) and other visualizations outliers.
        As they emailed me, they were aware of the problem, which depends on the limited access they have to Linkedin's API.
        I must say things have improved since then, but there is still room for improvement (this is why I've started using Hootsuite for sharing on our Linkedin Company Page and Group).

      Apart from that, Buffer is great for scheduling. :-)

      For sharing on Facebook, we still prefer to use its own built-in scheduling feature: it works very well, and I believe it’s nice for people to see that we use Facebook from the “inside" (if you use an external tool, they can see it). More than that, sometimes Facebook messes with metadata and your update ends to be published with a weird title or image, or nothing at all:

      facebook-metadata

      and you have to add them manually. So at least at the moment, the only way to be sure it will come out right is to do it all within Facebook.

      Repost App

      We recently opened an Instagram account with the aim of showing people's wireframes to our Community.

      We rely on Repost to post our favorite sightings and properly mention the authors.

      instagram

      What We Like About Repost:

      • It keeps improving and becomes easier and quicker to use. We don't mind "poor" customization, and we definitely don't want to get rid of the repost mark (but you can, with a small fee): in fact, we regard as important and essential to give credit to the original poster.

      Nothing to say about improvements: Instagram is relatively new to us. Moreover, unlike other social networks, it doesn't have a lot of features - and that reflects on third party apps like Repost.


      Trello

      Speaking of Social Scheduling, I thought it might be useful to add a reference to our blog scheduling calendar.

      Trello is a project management tool with many potential applications, but we started using it for a small task: keeping a well-organized blogs calendar.

      trello

      We run 4 different blogs; there are 5 of us as main authors, but other Balsamici write blog posts, from time to time, and requests to write guest blog posts are growing. We felt that our old calendar (a simple Google spreadsheet) was too rigid and poor in features.

      Now when we open Trello we can see all the details at a glance: what the next scheduled blog posts are, who's in charge of them, how the month is going, etc.

      In our Trello Board, each column represents a month and every scheduled blog post has its own card.

      For every card, we provide:

      • a colored label for each blog, and a special color for guest blog posts we do on other blogs
      • one or two members: people who are in charge of that blog post
      • a due date, which is the day the blog post is planned to be published.

      After the blog post is published, I move its card to the Archive.

      What We Like About Trello:

      • It strikes the perfect balance between simplicity and richness of features. What we like the most is that we can keep all the stuff about a blog post in its Trello card: messages, images, draft URL, comments... so that we don't have to look for them here and there.
      • We love tools that are quick to use, and this is why we especially like the quick edit feature on Trello cards: you can add/change label, members, due date in no time.
      • Thanks to its flexibility, you can use it basically for everything and not only for work.
      • It's free, and they promise it will stay that way: "Trello is free forever. We may add pay-only features in the future, but everything that's free today will be free tomorrow and forever."

      What We'd Like to See Improved:

      • We'd like to see simplified the access to the archived items, because I often have to go there to grab the list of the most recent published blog posts.
      • I'd also like to invite contributors to join a card without making them members of the Trello board. I don’t want to bother my colleagues with signing up for the umpteenth tool, if it's not strictly necessary for them to have Trello in their toolkit.

      So, these are the tools for Social Scheduling we use right now. Maybe some of them will be replaced - we tend to adopt the most effective tools we can find on the market and the ones which fit our needs better.

      And what about you? What kind of tools do you use? Looking forward to hearing from you! :)

      -Francesca for the Balsamiq Team

        How We Do Content Discovery

        Hello friends of Balsamiq!

        This is part 4 of our 5-part mini-series of blog posts about how we do marketing.

        Here's the full list:

        1. The Balsamiq Mantras
        2. The Balsamiq Marketing Checklist
        3. Tools we Use for Brand Monitoring
        4. How We Do Content Discovery
        5. Tools we Use for Social Scheduling.

        Today's fun topic: Content Discovery!


        Content Discovery

        Content Discovery usually refers to platforms and algorithms to help you discover content you or your community may enjoy.

        Most social media platforms these days offer integrated features for content discovery, such as the "suggested posts" on Facebook or Twitter.

        We tend to use a broader definition of Content Discovery: for us it means all the activities we do related to finding excellent content, no matter the tool or channel.

        A big part of our mission to help rid the world of bad software is to help people learn how to make better software. Consequently, a lot of what we look for and share is about user experience (UX). We also share about other topics that our community cares about: entrepreneurship, working remotely, and others.

        In the past, we used to share content we randomly found on the web as we found it. Recently, since we hired our new community manager Jessica, we've been able to better organize our work and look for interesting content to share almost every day.


        Newsletters, websites, blogs, etc.

        To help us "see what's new", we created a page in our internal wiki, containing a growing list of sources to look at: websites, blogs, newsletters, Twitter accounts, Facebook groups, online communities, etc.

        content-discovery-sources

        We browse these sources and carefully read and vet a lot of articles. If we're not sure, we ask our teammates if something is worth sharing or not.

        It's a very time-consuming task, but we want to be very sure that the content we are about to share is worth of our Community's time.

        Another source of links to share - my favorite - are my colleagues. Thanks to Balsamiq's Professional Development Policy, a lot of us spend quite a bit of time studying and reading, so it's common for us to discover amazing resources and read extensive articles on what interests us.

        content-discovery


        Pivotal Tracker

        Pivotal Tracker is a story-based project planning tool quite popular among Agile development teams. We mainly use it as a bug and feature requests tracker to develop Balsamiq Mockups.

        Since we had already adopted the tool for other teams, we decided to create a new Pivotal project to keep track of all the shared content, and where we shared them. Serving as social shares repository is not Pivotal's primary use, but I found a way to adapt it to our needs as Community Managers.

        Pivotal

        Whenever we find an article we'd like to share, we add a story to Pivotal about it, including the following information:

        • the title of the article
        • its URL
        • where we want to share it ("big4" stands for Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Linkedin)
        • the author's Twitter account (we like to @-mention them on Twitter, they deserve the credit)
        • the short message(s) we'll use to share the content

        If our Twitter followers seem particularly delighted with a certain piece of content, we'll also add the label "Recurrent" to the story. In this way, we are able to quickly find and tweet it again after some weeks or months.

        Each story has a little table at the top with "story type", "points", "state" of the story itself, etc. It's something very important when it comes to tracking bugs and feature requests, but we don't use it for our marketing purposes.

        What we Like About Pivotal Tracker

        • It does its job: once you get used to it, it's very quick and smooth.
        • Collaboration is one of its strengths, and it's showing now that the team grows.
        • It has a free option, and the paid plans are very affordable. Here's the full pricing info.

        What we'd Like to See Improved

        • Pivotal Tracker is kind of rigid tool: it has default settings, prebuilt workflows and specific language and concepts. Which is perfect for a team of developers but it doesn't work so well in other, hybrid contexts. We'd like it to have more flexibility so that we could enjoy it more in a context different to software development.
        • Another problem is, whilst it gives me a very granular view of all the tasks on a specific content, I find it hard to get the overall view of the Content Discovery's state of play.

        As you can see, Content Discovery is simple: it just requires a lot of reading and a simple tracking tool. :)

        Do you have any advice for us? How do you do Content Discovery at your company?

        Next week we'll wrap up the series talking about Social Scheduling. See you soon!

        Francesca

          Tools We Use for Brand Monitoring

          Hello friends of Balsamiq!

          We're back with more from our 5-part mini-series of blog posts about how we do marketing.

          Here's the full list:

          1. The Balsamiq Mantras
          2. The Balsamiq Marketing Checklist
          3. Tools We Use for Brand Monitoring
          4. How We Do Content Discovery
          5. Tools We Use for Social Scheduling.

          The next 3 blog posts are going to focus on which marketing tools we use in Balsamiq, and how we use them.

          We hope this will be useful in your daily work. Let's get started!


          Brand Monitoring

          Brand Monitoring is scanning the web to find out what is being said about your company, your product, your service or anything else connected with your business.

          Knowing what people say about us is crucial to identify opportunities for engagement and put our Mantras into practice.

          One very important channel to monitor is obviously Twitter. We've used it since day one - actually, two months before day one ;) - and we receive a lot of mentions there. But a lot of people are talking about us outside of Twitter.

          In the past we used to use RSS for this, but since it pretty much died when Google killed Google Reader, we've had to look for other ways to monitor our brand.


          Mention

          mention

          We decided to use Mention to track any mention of our brand across the web.

          We check Mention weekly for "Balsamiq", "myBalsamiq", "UX Apprentice", etc.

          We also discard a bunch of links that we don't care about: license key cracks, job postings requiring Balsamiq as a skill, fake blog or twitter spam...

          Going through Mention is also a great way to discover new potential candidates for the Balsamiq Champions blog.

          What we Like About Mention:

          • It finds a lot of content everywhere, even articles where Balsamiq is misspelled or not explicitly mentioned (for example, a short-link to our site).
          • It sometimes finds out old articles, and this helps us fill in some blanks in our records.
          • You can also "teach" Mention to block some sources for the future, in case they're not interesting at all.
          • The UI is pretty nice and it's enjoyable to use both from desktop and tablet or phone.
          • It's not free! This means they'll stay in business! :) Here's the full pricing info.

          What we'd Like to See Improved:

          • We'd like to turn off alerts for our own social profiles. We don't need to see our Facebook updates, tweets or Instagram pics in our own Mention stream.
          • Sometimes Mention shows the same link again some weeks or months after it was published, which is confusing.

          Pinboard

          It doesn't matter if you are a social media marketer, a business owner, or a student. Sooner or later, you will face this problem: where can I collect and archive articles and links?

          There are a lot of solutions to this problem; I have to admit I used to send myself emails and put them in folders (true story). Lucky for us, Peldi started to use a nice "social bookmarking" tool since the very beginning.

          Back in 2008, we used del.icio.us. When Yahoo pretty much killed it, we switched to Pinboard, and we couldn't be happier. Incidentally, Peldi is a big fan of Maciej Ceglowski, the 1-man-band behind it.

          pinboard

          We have a huge, public repository on Pinboard, where we catalog links we've discovered thanks to Mention or here and there during our working days. Each element gets neatly categorized: reviews (even the bad ones), comments, videos, tutorials...all out in the open for the world to see.

          For example, you can see all the Balsamiq Sightings we found on the web, or have some fun with this list of people who misspell the balsamic vinegar as Balsamiq, or look at our growing golden puzzle collection (more on the golden puzzle at minute 31:00 of this talk).

          We also browse our Pinboard links looking for the best reviews when we need to update our Press List.

          What we Like About Pinboard:

          • It's simple to use thanks to its Chrome extension.
          • It can be used by multiple people, without creating link duplication.
          • It's ugly minimalist on purpose, to make the design light and the information density high.
          • We especially like that we can add notes. We use them by copy-pasting some text: it's an easy way to keep some nice words alive, even if their web page won't exist anymore (it happens all the time.)
          • It's not free (good), and it's really cheap (very good). Here's the full pricing info.

          What we'd Like to See Improved:

          The Tag Autocomplete feature in the Chrome extension has an annoying usability issue. When I "pin" a link and want to add a tag, I usually type some letters and choose the right value using the arrow keys, as you can see below:

          tag_autocomplete_function

          But when I press "enter", Pinboard creates a new tag "balsamiq_p" instead of assigning the selected one. As a result, I unwittingly create "monster" tags and have to clean up my Pinboard account periodically.


          So these are the two simple and affordable tools we use to to Brand Monitoring these days.

          What tools do you use?

          I'll show you some Content Discovery tools next week.

          Francesca

            The Balsamiq Marketing Checklist

            balsamiq-marketing-checklist
            Hello friends of Balsamiq!

            Today we would like to share another one of our Handbook pages with you. This time, it's about Marketing.

            We've come a long way since my guerrilla marketing approaches of 2008, and our marketing style has had to adapt.


            What Does Marketing Mean at Balsamiq?

            Marketing is a word that comes with baggage. It used to have a "push things down people's throats" connotation, but things are changing.

            We use the word marketing to define anything customer-facing that we do:

            Other ways to define it could be "customer communication" or even "most of what we do". :)

            We "Do Marketing" in 4 Ways

            1. Product and Customer Service. Similarly to Apple, we lead with our product. Our main effort should be about making a product that's "at home" good. After that, we should focus on supporting and educating our customers so well that they become successful. If we do those things, extremely powerful word of mouth will follow.
            2. Inbound / Content Marketing. We like to generously give back to our community by providing a lot of free valuable content, giving away our software to schools, non-profits and many others, and more.
            3. Content Discovery / Community Management. We actively participate in the UX and startup communities in order to stay abreast of what's new, discover content to share with our customer and to nurture our market as a whole.
            4. Advertising. We believe that once the right people find us, they will become more successful. So we also spend a little effort trying to reach people who might need it. We do this via Sponsorships and Ads which guide them first to our website, then to try the product, then help them make something with it.

            The Balsamiq Marketing Checklist

            We use this checklist anytime we write a new blog post, documentation article, tutorial, FAQ, web page, Facebook post, even a little Tweet!

            The list is very much inspired by our mantras, so make sure you internalize those first.

            • Goal
              • what's the piece's main goal? Informational, inspirational, or...?
              • how does this help rid the world of bad software?
              • which of our personas is this useful for?
                • how does this make them more awesome?
                • can we make them feel smart by reading it?
              • does this even need to exist at all, or is it noise?
              • is it as short as possible without losing information and tone? (respect people's time)
            • Medium and Channel
              • what is the right medium for this message? For example, should it be a video instead of a blog post?
              • does it have a picture on it, preferably with a face on it? (no stock photo, and don't be shy with our own faces)
              • what's the best channel for this content?
              • how can we improve its chances to reach the right people?
            • Tone: does our personality shine through?
              • does it do it in a non-humblebrag, non-condescending and non-contrived way?
              • is it honest, authentic, humble, transparent, witty, endearing, cute, delightful?
              • does it show the bad with the good? does it show our current challenges?
            • Invite Conversation
              • does it speak to our community as peers?
              • does it mention members for our community, and thank them for their input?
              • does it ask for help and invite conversation?
            • Timing
              • is it time-sensitive? Does it need to be scheduled?
              • is it timeless, or is its impermanence made explicit?
                • if it's meant to be timeless, don't use numbers
                • if it's not, write it down "this is our current thinking, which might change"
            • Take it to 11
              • how can we possibly make this less about us and more about them?
              • how can we take this to 11? How can we make this "best of the web"?
            • Housekeeping
              • how does this fit with the rest of our content? What pages should link to this? How should this be highlighted?

            Download it as PDF!


            So there you have it. This is our current thinking about marketing. I'm sure it will evolve, but it's been serving us well recently. What do you think? How could we improve the checklist?

            Peldi for the Balsamiq Team

              Jessica Orellanes Joins Balsamiq!

              Hello, friends! I am Jessica, and I've just become the 21st member of the Balsamiq team as a Community Manager.

              Jessica Orellanes Community Manager at Balsamiq

              How I landed here is a mix of timing, location and -maybe- luck.

              My love for Italy and my newly formed family flew me 5,131 miles away from home. Once here, it took a deep interest in UX and Design, a rethinking of marketing and a Balsamiq mockup of my skills to get this bootstrapped little company's attention.

              Balsamiq Mockup of Jessica's CV

              Balsamiq's way of building and nurturing a relationship with the community is by helping them be more awesome at what they do. With the addition of my role, we intend to be more present and bring more value through our social media and other digital channels to be even more of service to our customers.

              I'd be pleased to know your thoughts about this role and what you think we can do to improve our communications and be helpful to you.

              If you have ideas you want to share, leave a comment or send me an email or a tweet at jessica@balsamiq.com / @balsamiqJess :-)

              Jess for the Balsamiq Team

                Peldi's Talk About Balsamiq's Journey So Far

                Balsamiq's story is a compelling one: one man creates a product, builds a company and stays fiercely independent.

                It sounds good, but as you can imagine it's not without pain. As we grow, many ask us how we did it, and we love to share our adventure.

                Last September, Peldi had the opportunity to tell the story at the Business of Software USA conference. The ups, the downs, and all of the different plans we've tried to execute so far.

                The video is now available. And, even though Peldi reserved a brief acquisition anecdote for our live audience, we are sharing it today in the hope it's helpful and maybe even inspiring to other entrepreneurs out there.


                Hopefully, after watching this video, you'll think: "Hey, if Peldi was able to be successful, even if he clearly had no idea what he was doing, maybe I can make it too!" ;-)

                If you liked the video, you might also be interested in this Peldi's "Ask Me Anything" session where he shares further on these topics.

                We'd love to hear your thoughts about both, and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to add your comment below!

                  The Balsamiq Mantras

                  As we say on our company page, since starting out in 2008,

                  we are trying to build a company we’d like to do business with ourselves. We aim to be a company that’s human, respectful, transparent, inclusive, socially and environmentally conscious, and a good citizen of the world and the Web.

                  To help ourselves translate this aspirational goal into day-to-day practice, we recently created a handbook page which we call "The Balsamiq Mantras".

                  These are statements and concepts we try to keep in mind every time we interact with our community, and with each other.

                  It's all common sense stuff we've been doing to the best of our abilities for a long time, but we've only recently written it down, mostly for new hires.

                  I am sharing this today hoping it will be useful to other startups, and to ask for your help improving it. We hope you'll want to help us make our Mantras better in the comments!

                  The Balsamiq Mantras

                  1. Help Our Customers (And Their Users) Be More Awesome
                  2. Genuinely Care About our Customers' Success, Customer Service is The New Marketing
                  3. Be Good Servant Leaders, Be Good Citizens
                  4. Be Generous
                  5. Be So Good They Can't Ignore You. The Golden Puzzle
                  6. Inspire With Our Culture

                  1. Help Our Customers (And Their Users) Be More Awesome

                  Everything we do is geared towards making our customers - and even their customers - more awesome at what they do.

                  Kathy Sierra talks about this idea in her talk about Building the minimum Badass User or her book "Badass: Making Users Awesome". Both are highly recommended.

                  badass

                  It's not about our product, our company, our brand.
                  It's not about how our users feel about us.
                  It's about how the user feels about himself, in the context of whatever it is our product, service, cause helps him do and be.

                  Just like a good UI, we should aim to disappear in the background and only be there when people need us.

                  That's why we talk about benefits instead of features, why we showcase people's success via the Champions blog, why we made the high five page, and lots more.

                  When you're working on something, consider: how does this make our users more awesome?

                  Think: what else can we do to make our community more awesome? How can we help our customers help their clients/customers/users become more awesome?

                  2. Genuinely Care About our Customers' Success, Customer Service is The New Marketing

                  As our email signatures say, we're good people, and we care.

                  The central idea is to try and really put yourself in the customer's shoes.

                  • This means really listening, reading their messages carefully, without rushing, trying to understand where they're coming from.
                  • It means being patient, empathetic, compassionate and non-judgmental. Remember: An Enemy Is One Whose Story We Have Not Heard [Irene Butter].
                  • Then, it means imagining the user as someone you like, someone you'd like to help succeed in life.
                  • In support, this results in really trying to imagine the best course of action for the user, including offering full refunds, suggesting a competing product, offering to recreate some lost data for them...
                  • In marketing, this means being clear and honest about benefits as well as shortcomings, being respectful and never talking down to our users, and always trying to align our goals with theirs.

                  When in doubt, choose to trust people's good intentions. Don't waste your energy trying to decipher if someone might be trying to scam us, it's not worth our time.

                  Be human, warts and all!

                  Think: how can we make our customers more successful? Do our processes support this goal?

                  NOTE: there is a tension here: on one hand we want everyone at Balsamiq to have the freedom to do what's right for the user, but we can't afford to overdo it. A line has to be drawn somewhere.

                  For example: giving our software away for free to everyone would undoubtedly help more people be successful, but it would also drive us out of business. Another example: we used to give all open-source projects, even tiny ones, free myBalsamiq forever. After a while we realized that this put a strain on our servers, so now we require that open-source projects have at least 20 contributors. We offer smaller projects Mockups for Desktop instead.

                  In other words, let's try to be accommodating, but also keep in mind the long-term sustainability of what we offer customers.

                  Think about it this way: going too far is actually something that hurts our customers in the long term, as it might drive us out of business.

                  Derek Sivers speaks about this in this excellent podcast interview, at around minute 18:00. He says you have to serve others within the limits of what you can sustainably do.

                  3. Be Good Servant Leaders, Be Good Citizens

                  As we say on our company page, we try to be good upstanding citizens of our online community.

                  We realize that we are only a small part of a community that involves our customers, our users, our partners, our competitors, their users, industry experts, bloggers, event organizers, and many others.

                  We strive to be considered leaders in our community, but we know we have to earn it.

                  Here's a quote about Servant Leadership:

                  The point of servant leadership is to serve others by thinking of their needs, recognizing their needs and supporting efforts to meet their needs. Doing that requires strength, clear vision, and an undeterred drive. It’s not about taking a backseat and deferring to the whims and wishes of others.

                  Highly effective leaders are more interested in creating more leaders not in gathering more followers. They see themselves as equals to others. They adopt an other-orientation so they are able to be more effective in reaching their own goals, too.

                  We also try to be good citizens by sponsoring do-gooders, volunteering, donating 3% of our profits, and more.

                  How this applies to competition: we never speak ill of our competitors: they are people, doing their best, just like us.

                  We compete on usability and customer service: if someone has better usability and customer service than we do, they deserve to win.

                  We are respectful of our customer's time: that's why we believe in quality over quantity, and we are extremely mindful of not spamming our customers.

                  Think: how else can we be of service to our community? We have time and money: how can we use them to provide something that the community needs?

                  4. Be Generous

                  Derek Sivers says:

                  All great service comes from this feeling of generosity and abundance.

                  We can afford to be generous.

                  We have the time, we have the money, helping people is what we should be doing. So, be generous!

                  If the word generous doesn't do it for you, you could try compassionate instead.

                  Think: having a hard time with a difficult task, or a difficult customer? Think to yourself: am I being generous enough?

                  5. Be So Good They Can't Ignore You. The Golden Puzzle

                  A big part of being REALLY GOOD at what we do is to really "GET" our customers. We strive to think outside the box in order to provide them with "the complete solution" and not just a piece of it.

                  Some examples of how we do this:

                  • we show inspiring quotes while people wait for things to load
                  • we have an "I need inspiration" Help menu
                  • we have a What should I make for dinner? menu
                  • we lighten the mood of a support call by Rick-Rolling them with our hold music.

                  ...all these things scream "we get you!" to our customers.

                  Atlassian calls this Always Be Marketing. We call it the Golden Puzzle: whenever someone writes something good about us publicly that's not about our core competencies (in our case, our product and our support), we call that a Golden Puzzle piece. Here's our collection.

                  I spoke about this concept in my Business of Software 2010 talk (from 29:32 to 34:25), take a look:
                  goldenpuzzle

                  This is, of course, easier said than done. It's a high bar to reach, and we will not reach it every time. But it's a good goal to have, it's a fun challenge.

                  When people copy what you do, rejoice! It's a sign that it was really good! :)

                  Think: whatever you're working on, how can you make it go to 11?

                  6. Inspire With Our Culture

                  This is something that's hard to do because we run the risk of seeming boastful or, even more annoyingly, humblebragging.

                  At the same time, this is something that people respond really well to, and some people actively demand of us.

                  People consider us thought leaders in many different fields:

                  • bootstrapping a micro-multinational
                  • our progressive company policies
                  • being "optimized for working from home"
                  • being "a learning organization"
                  • providing outstanding support
                  • being human! (empathy, saying sorry, using GIFs, taking responsibility, REALLY listening...)

                  Our community wants us to share what we learn along the way. We're just trying to figure this out like everyone else. Sharing our progress helps us digest it and invites ideas we wouldn't have on our own.

                  We do this in this Life@Balsamiq blog, but we should do more.

                  Think: what are some topics we should share? What are some guidelines we can follow when sharing these kinds of topics? How do we deal with content obsoletion?


                  Questions and Challenges

                  Of course, this philosophy is not without challenges.

                  Here are a few questions we're pondering right now (we'd love your help in the comments for these):

                  • How can we make sure we preserve these values as our company grows?
                  • What risks does this expose us to?
                  • Is this clear enough to be digestible by everyone at Balsamiq?
                  • Is it too long? Too preachy?
                  • Does this page inspire people to do more, do better?
                  • Is this enough to insure we have a consistent voice?
                  • What's missing from this page?
                  • What would you remove, or re-work?

                  A final note to our awesome customers: please hold us accountable! We try to live up to our goals, but we're only human. Don't be shy with negative feedback, it helps us serve you better! :)

                  Thanks for reading this far, looking forward to reading your thoughts below.

                  Peldi for the Balsamiq Team

                    Looking Back at 2015

                    Hello again friends of Balsamiq!

                    Peldi here with our traditional "state of the union" end-of-year report. You can find previous editions here: 2008, 2009, 2013, and 2014.

                    As usual, this is going to be a very long post.

                    Summary

                    We continue to truck along nicely, executing on our vision one step at the time. As usual, a large part of our efforts happen behind the scenes, both in product development and in general company growth. Revenue-wise, 2015 was yet another record year for us, with sales passing $6.4 million. We continue to grow organically, just the way we like it.

                    In 2015 we released Balsamiq Mockups 3, a MAJOR update to our product. In many ways, it's the product we should have built from the beginning. We also worked on bringing the new version to our different products, and will continue that effort in 2016.

                    2016 is going to be another very exciting year for us, with the native version of Mockups we've been working on for years finally being released, at least in our browser-based products.

                    The Nitty-Gritty

                    Interested in all the details? Let's dive in!

                    Mockups

                    After about a year of incredibly hard work, in March we released Balsamiq Mockups 3 for Desktop. It added native support for projects, a more modern and professional UX, easier to use symbols and assets, new icons, a new fullscreen mode, built-in support for "branching" via alternates, a trash bin, and even background music to help you focus.

                    This is just the tip of the iceberg on what we added to Mockups in 2015. Take a look at these release notes for all the details:

                    We also wrote a bunch of automated tests for the new codebase, and are always adding more.

                    If you still haven't updated, you're really missing out. Just head over to our download page to get your free update!

                    myBalsamiq

                    The themes for myBalsamiq in 2015 were: security, yearly plans and switching to native.

                    We did a lot of work with security researchers to make sure your data was as secure as it could be. We did twenty-five (25!!!) zero-downtime, invisible-to-you releases in 2015, and are very happy with where we are right now. We will of course continue to work with security researchers and follow industry best practices to keep your data safe and secure (email us at security@balsamiq.com if you want to get involved).

                    After a lot of under-the-hood refactoring, we were able to finally ship annual plans for myBalsamiq, which are especially useful for our large enterprise customers, but convenient for all (annual plans get 12 months for the price of 10).

                    Another big focus for myBalsamiq has been to bring the new editor features to it. Because our native HTML/JS editor is coming along very nicely, we've decided to use it for the next major update to myBalsamiq instead of trying to cram the old Flex-based one into it. For our myBalsamiq customers, this means having to wait longer, but we think the new stuff will be worth the wait.

                    We also did a couple of small releases to lower the pain of those of you who work both with myBalsamiq and Desktop 3, by integrating the FontAwesome icon set in the "old" myBalsamiq editor.

                    We also continued adding lots of automated tests, so we can all sleep better at night.

                    In 2015 our users added 24,000 projects to myBalsamiq, which is now hosting about 140,000 projects. Sweet!

                    Plugins

                    2015 was another record year for our plugins as well.

                    We released a new version of Mockups for Google Drive, which is now at feature parity with Mockups 3 for Desktop. We also started migrating our customers from the PinPayments payment processor to Stripe.

                    On the Atlassian plugins front, we updated Mockups for JIRA to make it compatible with JIRA 7, and Mockups for Confluence to make it compatible with Confluence 5.9. We also added the FontAwesome icon set to them.

                    We also worked on (and released in early 2016) a new version of Mockups for JIRA for Atlassian Cloud customers, which also brings it to feature parity with Mockups 3 for Desktop, and is sold only via Atlassian Marketplace.

                    We are working with Atlassian on a new version of Mockups for Confluence for Atlassian Cloud customers, which will be released in 2016.

                    Mockups 3 for Google Drive and Mockups 3 for JIRA Cloud use a new collaboration server we made which provides real-time collaboration, so that multiple people can edit the same project at the same time.

                    We attended AtlasCamp in Prague and sponsored Atlassian Summit in San Francisco. Our commitment to the Atlassian ecosystem remains strong.

                    The Long Road to Native

                    We continued to invest a significant amount of effort in our "going to native" project. This means effectively rewriting our 7-year-old codebase in a way that will enable us to deliver our product as a native application, both on the Web and in all major desktop and mobile platforms.

                    We started the year by building a proof-of-concept application on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and HTML/JS. This little project taught us a lot about possible performance issues and other "gotchas", and informed our architectural decisions for the main Mockups editor project.

                    When that was done, we started working on the editor in earnest, replicating the existing features of Balsamiq Mockups 3 one by one. We still don't have too much to show you publicly, but we're super-excited about it, and are shooting for doing a private beta of a new version of myBalsamiq that uses the web client sometime mid-2016. Stay tuned here for updates.

                    In the meantime, you can get a taste of what's to come by using the native HTML/JS viewer in Mockups 3 for Google Drive, or the newly released Mockups 3 for JIRA Cloud.

                    This is going to be our biggest project of 2016. It'll be great.

                    Ops

                    Operations is often the unsung hero of the story: if things work smoothly, no-one notices! :)

                    As always, we did a lot of ops work in 2015, including migrating the myBalsamiq mySQL version from 5.5 to 5.6 (harder than it sounds), we moved the build archives from an old Rackspace account to AWS S3, we did several updates to our build machine and Jenkins, we reserved AWS instances and regularly reviewed AWS Trusted Advisor for security and other improvements. We also added DKIM/DMARC to our domains to ensure a more secure and reliable delivery of our emails.

                    Here's a Pingdom report for all of our monitors for 2015.

                    pingdom

                    As always we could do better, but we're pretty proud of all those 100%s!

                    Sponsorships and Philanthropy

                    • As usual, we donated 3% of our 2014 profits to different non-profits!
                    • We sponsored 85 new events in 22 countries!
                    • We gave away over 306 months of free myBalsamiq service!
                    • We raffled off tickets to 6 different conferences and events!
                    • We gave away 781 free licenses to do-gooders of all kinds!
                    • We gave our employees lots of free time to volunteer, and organized a few volunteering company outings.

                    It feels good to be a good citizen! :)

                    Marketing and Website Updates

                    Now that we have a product we're proud of and a great organization to support it, we started pushing on marketing a bit more.

                    Support, Docs & Sharing What We Learned

                    Website updates

                    • We switched balsamiq.com, support.balsamiq.com, docs.balsamiq.com, blogs.balsamiq.com, forums.balsamiq.com and uxapprentice.com to HTTPS. It's more secure, and Google likes it better.
                    • We made all of our websites responsive, so that they look great on tablets and phones.
                    • We switched our site search provider from Google Custom Search to Swiftype. Try it out, it's awesome.
                    • We improved our product comparison page.
                    • We improved our company page and added a little easter egg to it (click on the team photo!)
                    • We improved our What should I make for dinner? page and published 12 new video recipes.
                    • We changed how we build our balsamiq.com website, from grunt to gulp + webpack.
                    • We created a new React-powered contact form to help us skip a few steps when giving people support.
                    • We also created other React-powered forms, for applying for a sponsorships, free software or a job at Balsamiq. These forms integrate directly with Desk.com (our help desk service) and Confluence (our internal Wiki).
                    • UX Apprentice is now translated in 6 languages (English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish), and we added a useful resource page to it.
                    • We added a curated press list to our site.
                    • We created a new page for our talks and interviews.
                    • We updated our brand a bit: gone is the sad old dark red, welcome the new bright red! :)

                    Admin, Finance and More

                    Making sure a 20-person geographically-distributed startup runs smoothly is no small task.

                    We hired 4 people, in 3 different countries: as you can imagine, that's a lot of paperwork. :)

                    In 2015 our friend Ben Norris left us to follow his dreams - we miss you Ben! :) - so we decided to leave the state of Utah and instead establish a nexus in Illinois, where Brendan lives.

                    We also organized a company retreat in a castle in the Loire Region of France, which was amazing.

                    We hired an intern (Alain) to work on an exciting new feature of Mockups, coming soon.

                    We continued to improve our local benefits packages, by offering food vouchers for our Italian employees, adding a pension fund in Germany, better medical support in the Netherland, introducing 401(k) matching for our US employees, added a $250/mo co-working allowance for everyone, and more.

                    We also changed our vacation policy from being "unlimited" to "minimum expected days", which is more effective in encouraging employees to actually take vacation. We got written up about it on CNN Money, which was pretty cool. :)

                    As usual, we worked with our accountants and lawyers and investment bankers, to make sure we're doing everything right. :)

                    We also raised the price of Mockups for Desktop for the first time in its history - from $79 to $89 for a single license - and extended the trial period from 7 to 30 days.

                    Here are the revenue figures for 2015:

                    2015_revenue

                    As you can see, revenue is a healthy $6.4M, up 4.87% since 2014. Nice and steady growth, just the way we like it.

                    2015_revenue_by_product

                    2015_revenue_area

                    The two charts above show that people continue to gradually migrate from Desktop to SaaS, in line with the whole software industry. This is lovely for us, as SaaS revenue is super-predictable, and recurring! :)

                    2015_geo

                    The chart above is also very similar to last year's. As always, Australia is over-represented in this chart because that's how we track sales that happen via Atlassian Marketplace (Atlassian is based in Australia, but the customers really come from all over the world).

                    2015_transactions

                    Our shopping cart handled over 123,000 transactions in 2015. Solid! :)

                    Profits remain very healthy. We won't have the exact figures for a few months, but we suspect they'll be over 30% again.

                    Conferences, Interviews and Press Mentions

                    We attended the following conferences (bold means that one of us spoke at the event):

                    • DotJS Conference Paris
                    • UserConf 2015 San Francisco
                    • Atlassian Summit San Francisco
                    • Code Mesh 2015 London
                    • Storytelling and Social Media Workshop Bologna
                    • ReactJS Day - Verona
                    • Newsletter and Email Marketing Workshop Bologna
                    • Business of Software Boston
                    • CITCON - Helsinki
                    • Software Circus, Programmable Infrastructure, Amsterdam
                    • Microconf Europe Barcelona
                    • Madison+ UX Conference
                    • ReactEurope 2015 Paris
                    • AtlasCamp Prague
                    • NSConference 7 London
                    • Google+ workshop's Bologna
                    • World IA Day Bologna
                    • IXDA San Francisco
                    • Interaction 15

                    Press mentions around the web are too many to list, but here's a little sample of some of the most interesting articles:

                    Looking ahead

                    We're very excited about the year ahead. We are already working on some highly requested features, and the "going native" project is really coming along well. Our plugins will get a full revamp, we'll continue to invest a bit more in marketing, and we'll probably hire a couple more people to help us go even faster.

                    As always, we hope you'll want to come with us in our journey.


                    Thanks for reading this super-long post.

                    If anything in this post surprised you or sparked your interest, don't be shy and add a comment! I'd love to answer any questions you might have.

                    We hope 2016 brings you and your families health, happiness and success.

                    Onward!
                    Peldi for the Balsamiq Team


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