jefframnani + saas   13

After 5 years and $3M, here's everything we've learned from building Ghost
About the product and engineering.

We spent a very long time trying to compete on convenience and simplicity. This was our biggest mistake and the hardest lesson to learn - because user feedback told us that this was what was most important. We deliberately limited flexibility in the product to try and make it more simple. But it ended up being still not simple enough for the average user, and not powerful or flexible enough for the professional user — the worst of both worlds.

So the biggest takeaway after 5 years is that we have been moving, and will continue to move up market, toward professional users who value power and flexibility over ease of signup. This is where we can win compared to the competition.

On being a fully remote team.

The stuff which is actually hard, nobody ever asks about. For instance: How do you know when someone is in a bad mood? How do you deal with loneliness? How do you foster camaraderie? How do you achieve urgency? How do you ever get to know people outside of work when you never spend time with them outside of work?

On being an open source product. An interesting observation about GitHub being too transactional between maintainers and contributors.

The least fun part of working on Ghost is dealing with Github, which is really sad.

Everyone has their pet issue, whether design or accessibility or security or internationalisation or performance or SEO or or or... the list goes on. Everyone thinks theirs is most important and that we should work on right now and they can't believe that we would ignore it. It's always absolutely outrageous.
business  opensource  nonprofit  software  saas  publishing  blogging 
8 weeks ago by jefframnani
Why we’re switching Ulysses to Subscription – Building Ulysses – Medium
The software business is changing. Paid upgrades are dead in a post App Store world. Subscriptions seem like the only / best option going forward.

Let’s map this onto Ulysses for a moment: If you bought Ulysses at its launch in April 2013, you will now have received nine major feature releases. For free, at no additional cost. At least 80% of that originally purchased app have since been scraped and replaced. Its functionality has quadrupled during the same time.

Each of these nine updates required a considerable amount of time on our part, which of course translates into a considerable amount of development cost. But with customers ever only paying for the development of the current version — how did we manage to finance new versions then?

The answer is simple: New users.
Or in economic terms: Expanding our market.

Now, as long as there was a strong-enough flow of new customers every month, development costs could be covered by those sales. But since ours is a growing product (updates!), it hence needs a growing team (more code), which means growing development costs (devs need food), which in turn means we need an ever-growing stream of new users.

Needless to say, solely relying on new customers to keep your business going, is a very unstable idea — at the very least, there will come a time of full market saturation, right? ...
software  business  saas  productivity  apple 
august 2017 by jefframnani
Why we’re switching Ulysses to Subscription – Building Ulysses – Medium
The software business is changing. Paid upgrades are dead in a post App Store world. Subscriptions seem like the only / best option going forward.

Let’s map this onto Ulysses for a moment: If you bought Ulysses at its launch in April 2013, you will now have received nine major feature releases. For free, at no additional cost. At least 80% of that originally purchased app have since been scraped and replaced. Its functionality has quadrupled during the same time.

Each of these nine updates required a considerable amount of time on our part, which of course translates into a considerable amount of development cost. But with customers ever only paying for the development of the current version — how did we manage to finance new versions then?

The answer is simple: New users.
Or in economic terms: Expanding our market.

Now, as long as there was a strong-enough flow of new customers every month, development costs could be covered by those sales. But since ours is a growing product (updates!), it hence needs a growing team (more code), which means growing development costs (devs need food), which in turn means we need an ever-growing stream of new users.

Needless to say, solely relying on new customers to keep your business going, is a very unstable idea — at the very least, there will come a time of full market saturation, right? ...
software  business  saas  productivity 
august 2017 by jefframnani
What Comes After SaaS? – Hacker Noon
How Silicon Valley sees profitable, sustainable businesses. A dead end.
This is the beginning of a post-SaaS world playing out — fewer and fewer companies will break through. Few companies can grow fast enough. The rest…a prolonged stasis, the day to day management of what boils down to a bond — a known flow of future cash with some risk attached to it — just waiting for a buyer…


This definition includes the vast majority of small businesses ever formed. Restaurants, bars, coffee shops, dry cleaners, etc.
business  cloud  saas  technology  culture  vc  SiliconValley 
june 2017 by jefframnani
Kong - Open-Source API Management and Microservice Management
Consolidating a lot of the common functionality required in an SOA / Microservice architecture.

Need to do more research, but it looks like an nginx plugin.
microservices  saas  authentication  logging  nginx 
may 2016 by jefframnani
REWRITE — Medium
Good text summary of DHH's talk at the Business of Software 2015 conference, "REWRITE".
programming  software  design  business  saas 
october 2015 by jefframnani
Video: REWRITE: Why Basecamp 3 is a brand new code… – Signal v. Noise
DHH on abandoning the idea of an eternal version of web software. Creating new versions of your service for new users, and keeping your old version running to service existing customers. What he called, "Honoring your legacy". He called this concept, "competing with your best ideas", over the lifetime of your product.

On the decision of whether to force your customers to upgrade to a new, different version of your software, "Don't put your customers back into the market. There's no guarantee they'll pick your product again to solve their problem."

I like his points about being free to create new green field, versions of a service (usually targeted at new customers), as long as you keep your existing customers happy. It's liberating to not be stuck within an old code base, and with your old decisions forever.
programming  software  design  business  saas 
october 2015 by jefframnani
Service sunsets aren’t the least bit pretty
"It’s really not rocket science. People like change on their own schedule, they detest it when forced according to someone else’s. That’s just human nature, and it’s rarely good business to fight it."
programming  software  business  saas 
september 2015 by jefframnani

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