I was a little bit naive. I thought we’d bring Tower, our first product, to the market and then (no more than 12 months later) start working on our next product. Boy... was I green.
Welcome to Reality
We underestimated what it takes to run a product. We knew what it takes to build one - but we had no idea how many things were involved in keeping it running:
This includes questions about our product, about Git (the technology under the hood), bug reports, feature requests, trial extension requests, etc. In approximately 4 years of being on the market we received around 30,000 support inquiries. Especially since we’re aiming to provide a high-quality support to our customers, this is quite a challenge for a small team.
It seems as if each larger corporation and each reseller has their very own way of making business: forms & contracts in abundance - and no one is the same. Examining and processing these requests is hard work and takes more time.
Establishing a product is difficult for a self-funded company. Most slightly larger companies would struggle to pay their coffee bills with what we have to call our marketing budget. Since we can’t invest big money we have to invest a lot of time (for viral campaigns and content e.g.).
To professionally attend your customers, your product alone is not enough: we need a system for managing updates & realeases, a system that handles trial & license registrations, a system that collects and processes error reports, a system that handles payments... While you can use third-party products for some of these things, you’ll have to develop & maintain other systems by yourself.
Especially when having “version 1” on the market, you can’t afford to slow down: your first product version will inevitably be incomplete and demand for every minute of your time to be improved. Just the same as your second product version...
Running your own product will quickly make you realize one thing: your resources are limited. It brings along a ton of work that has nothing to do with the product itself. There’s no need to get intimidated by this work - just don’t underestimate it.