“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” ~Albert Einstein
SIGN UP BELOW OR BE FOREVER DAMNED
I’m happy to announce we now have our first 100 (114 to be exact) paying customers with Texting Base. Not bad considering we have been waiting for Version 2 to really push the product. At this point technically, we are supposed to have between 10 and 15 customers (100 less than we do).
Since our launch, we have learned a lot about the product. The first 30 days were like camping in Florida…buggy. It’s kind of hard to offer a texting product and not have an upload working properly…(my life was hell). Anyone in the software world knows that this is normal and to be expected…anyone reading this who isn’t in software may say: “why do bugs exist?” I answer that below.
The joy of paying customers in the beginning is that they can provide the type of feedback that would typically take a testing group many months to work through. Why does it take so long? Why do bugs exist? Because there are almost infinite combinations of “things” customers can do when using a product. Each and every button pushed, back button, symbol and number needs to be accounted for in order to create the flawless experience of a finished product.
I don’t know about you all, but my Apple is still buggy! Contacts disappear, things don’t work right and sometimes the phone has to shut down. I forgive Apple and their quality control team who missed all these bugs. I know how the math works out…the possibilities of interaction are almost infinite.
During this time of gathering feedback we had issues with upload, group management, common data elements, performance, sign up and credit card processing…and messaging.
In August, it was as if the God of Zen blessed our product to live in a bug-free environment. We have not have a customer issue (other than questions) in two months (knock on wood).
So how did we get the first 100 customers? 15 are personal friends, the rest come from a number of sources including door-to-door sales, Internet finds and referrals.
The part that makes me happiest is that our customers do not seem to mind that there are limitations to the current version of the product:
1) No mobile site
2) Upload can only handle 1,000 contacts at a time
3) No current integrations with CRMs
4) No search function in the “Manage” page
5) Performance issues
6) No mobile sign up
7) Billing is terrible (to me it is)
8) Marketing site is tough to follow
9) Product could be easier to use
10) Sign up is cumbersome
Sounds like a pretty damning list, doesn’t it? We are perfectionists around here…we just don’t have the resources to focus on Version 2 if we are making Version 1 better!
In spite of ALL of those “weaknesses,” by all accounts (and in my opinion) we are still ahead of the texting platforms that exist on the market. All of these issues are being taken care of with our next release. We are excited to get Version 2 out for our customers and the world to enjoy.
The first 100 customers are the toughest. You are getting people to trust that your product works and you are explaining to them why they need to try it. To that end, the first 1,000 customers are tough. Then word of mouth starts to kick in and growth expands (when you have a quality product).
To our first 100 paying customers…THANK YOU. Your feedback has been incredible. The product would not be where it is if not for your communication and feedback. You have my appreciation more than you may know.
Now to get to the 250-account number…wish us luck!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Eric Beans is CEO of Texting Base, Inc., out of Orlando, Florida. Texting Base is a cloud-based ”SMS Marketing Automation Platform” which allows entities to personalize group text messages.
Prior to Texting Base, Eric was the first US employee of TechSpan which became Headstrong. Headstrong sold for $550M to GenPact.
With a group of partners in 2005, Eric started Premier Mortgage Capital, Inc., a nationwide state charted Mortgage Company that grew to over 2B/Year in originations.
Eric is the author of "Changing The World Through Texting Software" and writes the entrepreneur section of "LA Style Magazine." Eric is an inventor, investor, and longtime entrepreneur.
Texting Base does not offer legal advice-please consult an attorney before starting to text for business purposes.