success and why it is nice

Interdubs had an awesome year in 2007. I had a certain expectation where the service should be by now. Development-wise and feature=wise I am behind. I want more features, and I want to write them now. But doing them right does always take more time than I think it would. And, my clients got what they essentially need months ago. Since then new features have been extra and on top of it.

Looking back at 2007 I particularly like the the fact that Interdubs could scale from a few beta clients to more than 20 customers. Many of them with very diverse needs. And all of them seemingly happy: Even though nobody is contractually obliged to continue their subscription each one renewed month by month. People some times wonder why Interdubs is so inexpensive. Specially compared to it’s feature set. I think it makes sense: Having the most awesome feature vs. price ratio means that I don’t have to spend much time to keep my clients happy otherwise. It also helps with marketing: If anybody interested in an online media solution should happen to talk about it to an existing interdubs user I will get a call. And when I get a call it becomes a sale. Sooner or later it does. Always.

2007 was also nice, since I had not to act on my 99.99% uptime or money back promise. By now it would be not so nice, if I can not charge anybody for a full month. Which is the whole point: I believe in Interdubs’ reliability enough to put my money where where my mouth is. Outages might happen in the future. Nothing is perfect. But by giving my clients their money back for a whole month, if Interdubs should be longer unavailable than for 5 minutes I there is at least a plan. If this should ever happen. The looming penalty of a month long ‘invoice outage’ makes it financially viable to upgrade the servers that Interdubs runs on. So that it does not happen in the first place. Or is at least less likely.

2007 I published 590 times code updates to Interdubs. That’s why I don’t like to call things “Versions”. Version 590? Sometimes I just moved a couple of links around, to make a frequently used choice easier to find. A couple of times I replaced or upgraded the entire engine that runs Interdubs. I might have gotten lucky, but at no point did I loose data during those updates. And only about 10 changes were so stupid, that my users demanded a change back or further alteration of what I did. Knowing that I will hear about things going in the wrong direction allows me to suggest things with great liberty. The same concept looks enabling from the other side as well: Interdubs users know that they will be listened to. Sometimes it takes only minutes between a suggestion and the actual feature / change showing up on the site. Actually a great deal of ideas and features that make Interdubs worthwhile are a result of this collaboration.

2007 was a very successful year for Interdubs, so I had to decide what to do for Holiday presents. I decided not to send any at all. Instead I asked my kids to pick a charity. They suggested “Doctors without Borders” which I liked as well. So instead of sending gift baskets around some people got vaccinations that they needed.

Being able to decide on these things what to do is one of the perks of running your own company. Today I found Charity Navigator and realised with great relief that only a very small percentage of the interdubs donation will go to the adminstration.

I am certainly looking forward to move Interdubs forward in 2008.

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